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What we do

Planning enforcement is an important part of the planning process in protecting the environment. Whilst it is not always a criminal offence to carry out development without planning permission it may be a breach of planning law. The Council has the power to enforce that law. 

Planning law can be very complicated so these pages are only a guide to the enforcement procedures and the powers of the Council. 

The council sees enforcement action as a crucial component of controlling development. All reports of possible breaches of planning control are taken seriously and investigated as quickly as possible in accordance with a priority system.


Certain changes of use of land or buildings; e.g. from a house to a shop.

  • The carrying out of development not in accordance with the approved plan(s).
  • Not complying with conditions of a planning permission.
  • The erection of certain buildings without permission

Please note that within residential gardens there are certain rights to erect small buildings and extensions without planning permission, this is known as 'permitted development', for further information visit the Planning Portal website.

The following are also breaches of planning control that involve a criminal offence and may result in prosecution:

  • Carrying out works to a listed building without listed building consent.
  • Displaying certain signs or advertisements without advertisement consent.
  • Felling or carrying out works to a tree subject to a Tree Preservation Order or is a mature tree situated within a Conservation Area. i.e. protected trees.

What is not considered a breach of Planning Control?

  • Parking of commercial vehicles on the highway in residential areas or on grass verges.
  • Operating a business from home where the residential use remains the primary use and there is no adverse impact on residential amenity.
  • Parking a caravan within the residential curtilage of a property provided that it is being used incidental or ancillary to the main dwelling house i.e. it is stored or used as another room.
  • Clearing land of undergrowth, bushes and trees provided they are not protected trees and are not within a conservation area or protected by a planning condition.
  • Land ownership or boundary disputes.