Planning Enforcement

Planning enforcement deal with cases where development has been carried out without the relevant permission, unauthorised advertisements, unauthorised works to protected trees, non-compliance with conditions attached to planning approvals, unauthorised changes of use of land or buildings and untidy land or buildings which are adversely affecting the amenity of an area.

In deciding whether it is appropriate to take enforcement action the degree of harm that the unauthorised development is causing, or is likely to cause will be carefully considered.

Harm can arise through a range of factors, for example:

  • Noise nuisance or disturbance from a business operation
  • Danger and disturbance due to significantly increased traffic flows
  • Loss of privacy and impact on outlook, overshadowing and loss of natural light
  • Adverse impact on visual amenity due to poor design or inappropriate materials
  • Loss of protected trees or loss or damage to protected buildings and buildings in a conservation area
  • Risk of pollution that affects people or the natural environment
  • Developments that undermine the purpose and credibility of adopted national and local planning policies
  • Untidy land and run down or derelict buildings that have an adverse impact on the visual amenity of the surrounding area

Harm does not include:

  • Competition caused to another business
  • Loss of an individual's view or trespass onto their land
  • Loss of value to a neighbouring property

Where it is decided to take enforcement action in response to a breach of planning control, the council has a range of statutory powers available to it to seek information about the activities being undertaken and the persons involved and can take action to remedy the unauthorised developments or uses. The council can serve statutory notices setting out what actions are required to remedy the breach of planning control and where necessary undertake works in default, prosecute or seek court injunctions.

A notice could:

  • Stop or prevent an activity.
  • Request the removal of an unauthorised building or extension.
  • Ask for a development to be changed to make it more acceptable.
  • Require compliance with planning conditions
  • Request the improvement in the appearance of land or buildings

There are statutory time limits within which enforcement action must be taken or the breach becomes immune and the unauthorised development is then lawful. For example, enforcement action cannot be taken against building works or the change of use of a building to a single dwelling, including the subdivision of a house into self contained flats, if the development took place more than four years ago. The time limit in respect of other changes of use or the failure to comply with planning condition is 10 years. There is no statutory time limitation on taking action against breaches of listed building control.

Anyone receiving an enforcement notice can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. Guidance about making an appeal against an enforcement notice is also available on Planning Portal.

More information on Planning Enforcement can be found on the Department for Communities and Local Government Website; Ensuring Effective Enforcement  and also by visiting Planning Portal; Having your say and Planning permission, your responsibilities.

Make a complaint

If you are concerned about a development or works being done to any trees near you which you think does not have planning permission, please contact us, by telephone 0151 443 2380 or email  all information given will be treated confidentially.