The Council has a team of officers within the Directorate of Planning and Economic Development who are responsible for dealing with planning enforcement matters across the District. Planning enforcement is a discretionary service that is part of the Councils’ wider development control function. Even though the Council is not obliged by statute to provide a planning enforcement service, it recognises the importance of doing so in order to underpin the planning process. Furthermore, the Council recognises the benefits to residents and businesses in the District of taking prompt and appropriate action to deal with the harm that can sometimes be caused by breaches of planning control. At the same time, the Council acknowledges some breaches of planning control may not cause harm and/or have been carried out by a person who did not know the permission of the Council is required for the development concerned.
What does the Planning Enforcement Team do?
The Planning Enforcement Team can only investigate those matters that planning legislation places under the control of the District Council. These include:
- Development, including changes of use, without planning permission.
- Works affecting the special architectural or historic character of a listed building without Listed Building Consent.
- Demolition of a building in a conservation area without Conservation Area Consent.
- Removal of a tree in a conservation area without consent.
- Causing damage to or removal of a preserved tree without consent.
- The removal of more than 20 metres of continuous hedgerow without consent, where the length of hedgerow removed does not form a boundary with a residential property.
- Display of an advertisement without consent.
Our Local Enforcement Plan was adopted in December 2013 and gives details of how we investigate complaints and how you can make a complaint.
The Planning Enforcement Team’s primary concern is to deal with harm caused by breaches of planning control. To do so, it follows a process that starts with opening an investigation into alleged breaches of planning control and normally concludes when:
- It is found there has in fact been no breach, or
- Planning permission is subsequently granted, or
- The harm caused by the breach has been dealt where the planning legislation allows.
However an enforcement investigation can also be closed if the Planning Enforcement Team considers that the harm from the unauthorised works is minor or if they consider that a retrospective planning application would likely be granted planning permission.