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What is enforcement?

We frequently receive complaints regarding development which may be proceeding without the necessary planning permission or consent.

If development is carried out without the appropriate permission the Planning (Development Management) section will try to regularise the situation. This may result in the submission of a retrospective planning application seeking to either continue a particular use or retain an extension or structure.  Alternatively, if the development is causing harm the Council may seek to take enforcement action to remedy breaches of planning control.

While the Council does not condone breaches of planning control, enforcement action should always be commensurate with the breach of planning control to which it relates. For example, it is usually inappropriate to take formal enforcement action against a trivial or technical breach of control which causes no harm to amenity.

To carry out development without planning permission is not illegal (i.e. not a criminal offence). However, unauthorised works to listed buildings, unauthorised works to preserved trees or the display of advertisements without consent are offences and the Council can prosecute offenders where this is in the public interest.