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Planning enforcement

We have planning enforcement powers that it may apply and when there is a failure to comply with planning regulations. However, these are discretionary and we are only able to do this when it can be justified according to planning policies and law, and where it is expedient for us to do so.

Download our Planning Enforcement Policy 3.9 MB

When might we take planning enforcement action?

The main areas where enforcement may apply are:

  • Carrying out building works either without planning permission or in a way that is significantly different from what has been granted planning permission
  • Failing to comply with planning conditions attached to planning permissions
  • Changes of use of land or buildings either without planning permission or in a way that is significantly different from what has been granted planning permission
  • Unlawful displays of advertising signs which are a hazard to public safety
  • Works to trees protected by Tree Preservation Orders and hedgerows
  • Works to trees in Conservation Areas
  • Works on Listed Buildings
  • Untidy sites (though dangerous structures are dealt with by our building control colleagues)
Report a possible breach

We do not investigate:

  • Neighbour disputes
  • Land boundaries or ownership disputes
  • Works to party walls (see the Party Wall Act 1996 - Department of Communties and Local Government website)


If you have reported a breach of planning control, details of your issue will be dealt with in the strictest confidence.

Your name and address will not be repeated to the person or organisation involved in the alleged breach or published on the Council's website.

Action we can take

The Council will always seek to resolve the issue amicably without using its formal powers. However, we can issue a formal Enforcement Notice if this is not possible.

In considering any enforcement action, the decisive issue for us is whether the breach would unacceptably affect public amenity or the existing use of land and buildings and therefore action is in the public interest.

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What should I do if I get an Enforcement Notice?

Don't ignore it. Contact our Planning Compliance Officer immediately about complying with the Notice. Call 0303 123 1702 or email .

You should also get your own legal advice.

It is illegal to disobey a enforcement notice unless it is successfully appealed against. 

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