If our site visit and investigations show that a planning breach appears to have taken place, we write to the person responsible advising them to either:
- reverse the unauthorised work or
- apply for retrospective planning permission by a specified date (usually within 28 days)
Legally, we have to consider retrospective planning applications, even when it appears unlikely that planning permission would be granted. If this approach is unsuccessful, or if a retrospective application is refused, we will then consider enforcement action. Wherever possible we try to resolve matters informally. The decision to take formal action is based on the seriousness of the breach.
If we decide to take enforcement action, this involves serving an enforcement notice requiring the unauthorised work to be removed, or the activity to cease, within a specific timeframe. If you have reported a breach of planning regulations, we will tell you if we decide to take formal enforcement action.
The recipient of an enforcement notice can either:
- comply with the requirements of the enforcement notice
- appeal to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government within 28 days. The requirements of the enforcement notice are suspended until the appeal has been determined or withdrawn
It is an offence not to comply with an enforcement notice. If the offender is found guilty in a Magistrates Court, there is a maximum fine of £20,000. At a Crown Court, there is no limit to the fine that could be imposed.
Report a breach
A planning breach is when:
- someone makes changes to their property without having planning permission to do so
- someone breaks one or more of the conditions that are part of the planning permission
You can report a breach of planning anonymously or you can provide us with your contact details and ask us to keep them confidential. However, if you provide us with your details, we can tell you if we are going to take action.