Planning enforcement and appeals

Investigating planning breaches

We investigate and action all types of alleged breaches of planning control in accordance with our published Planning Enforcement Plan.

We will investigate reported complaints of:

  • alleged unauthorised development
  • changes of use of land or buildings
  • non-compliances with approved planning schemes

We don't normally investigate anonymous complaints.

Noise pollution, light pollution and other nuisances

Our planning enforcement officers often receive complaints about things they're not equipped to deal with. Reporting these complaints to the right officers can help to speed up their investigation.

Find out how to report:

You can report other environmental nuisances to us via our environmental issues area.

About the investigation process

The planning enforcement investigation process will:

  • determine if a breach of planning control has taken place (in most cases, an enforcement officer will visit the site and has the power to gain entry to premises)
  • take a corporate approach to enforcement and during an investigation; planning enforcement officers may liaise with other sections, such as environmental health, to ensure all contraventions are dealt with

If your development is unauthorised you have the right to make a retrospective planning application. Enforcement action is discretionary and if the breach is not causing harm, it is possible a retrospective planning application will be invited. However, we will take formal action if the development is considered totally unacceptable.

A breach causes serious harm if it is contrary to planning policies or causes unacceptable nuisance for neighbours, looks unsightly in the street scene or is a traffic hazard.