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Report an alleged breach of planning

Information on how to report an alleged breach of planning and what information you require.

If you carry out works without the correct permissions, it's a breach of planning control. The council takes breaches of planning control very seriously and relies, in part on the public reporting suspected breaches of planning control. We receive approximately 500 complaints each year mostly from neighbours or Councillors, as well as from officers.

If you suspect someone is breaching planning control and building without permission, you can report it to Planning Enforcement for investigation

What information do you need?

Make sure you give us as much information as possible, including:

  • the address of the property or building of the alleged breach
  • the owner or the occupier of the site (if known)
  • details of any problems of the alleged breach including when the activity started (if known)
  • your name, address and contact number

The details you provide us with are kept confidential and are not made known to the person who carried out the breach. If however you choose to remain anonymous we respect your rights, but we will be unable to provide you with any further information on the process or outcome of the investigations.
We do not normally investigate an anonymous complaint unless we consider the information of the complaint to warrant urgent attention, such as potential threat to a listed building or protected trees. In cases like this we will use our discretion on whether anonymous complaints will be investigated.

How quickly will my complaint be investigated?

After you make a complaint, you will receive:

  • a letter or email of acknowledgement within two working days
  • visit the property to see what has taken place, what harm it is causing and how it might be resolved. 
  • advice about how we intend to deal with the matter within 20 working days, although more serious breaches (eg. demolition of a listed building) will be visited as soon as possible.
  • written notification of any decision to take formal action or not, including an explanation of our reasons
  • update you and other parties at key stages of the investigation and inform you of the outcome.
  • if a breach is identified, the person responsible will be told what is wrong and what action is required to remedy the breach. In the majority of cases, unless there is serious and immediate ongoing harm to the environment, highway safety or neighbours, the person responsible will be given an opportunity to rectify the breach before the commencement of costly and protracted formal action.

Sometimes the investigation can take some time, eg. trying to find out if a property is being used for business purposes. 
We will notify you if a retrospective planning application is submitted during our investigation so you have the chance to formally give us your views. 
We will also notify you if an appeal is lodged against an enforcement notice or any other notice.