Planning enforcement plays a vital role in maintaining the integrity of the planning process. It is a very complex area because the Town and Country Planning Act seeks to strike a balance between allowing owners the freedom to use or alter their property as they wish, with the need to safeguard the amenities of an area against significant and irreparable harm.
What is a breach of planning control?
Breaches of planning control are numerous and varied in their nature. Below is a list of the more common cases of breaches of planning control that we investigate:
- Unauthorised building works;
- Unauthorised changes of use of land or buildings;
- Illegal advertisements;
- Unauthorised Listed Building works;
- Unauthorised demolition of buildings in Conservation Areas;
- Breaches of planning conditions;
- Untidy land;
- Illegal works to trees protected by Tree Preservation Orders or in Conservation Areas;
- Illegal removal of hedgerows.
What is not a breach of planning control?
Activities which are not a breach of planning control and where enforcement action cannot be taken include:-
- Operating a business from home where the residential use remains the primary use;
- Clearing land of overgrowth, bushes and trees provided that they are not subject to planning protection;
- Boundary disputes;
- Breaches of covenants attached to properties;
- Loss of view;
- Damage or loss of value to properties;
- Issues regarding inconsiderate parking and blocking of accesses.
It is also important to appreciate that some individuals may be able to alter their homes under their "permitted development rights" or for some businesses to change their use without needing planning permission granted by the District Planning Authority.
These rights are granted by the Government under the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (as amended) and the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended). If development occurs in accordance with these Orders, enforcement action cannot be taken.
What happens next?
The objective of planning enforcement is not to punish those who break regulations but to remedy any significant and irreparable harm that has been caused. We will often attempt to resolve unauthorised breaches through negotiation, rather than immediate formal action.
However, when unauthorised development is both unacceptable in planning terms and causing significant harm to the amenity of an area, we will not hesitate in taking formal enforcement action.
Whilst there are a range of actions available to us, enforcement action is a discretionary power. Action will only be considered if:
development has occurred without the appropriate permission or consent; and,
the purported breach would result in significant and irreparable harm
Any enforcement action must be within the public interest and should always be commensurate with the purported breach. As a result, we aim to investigate all alleged breaches of planning control in accordance with our Planning Enforcement Policy.
The name and address of anyone informing us of a possible breach will be kept confidential. However, requests for total confidentiality with regard to the information supplied may limit our ability to take action and cannot be guaranteed if an investigation were to be considered at Appeal or in Court.
Anonymous complaints will not be investigated unless in exceptional circumstances or where there are public safety implications.
Making a complaint
If you wish to report a breach of planning control, you can contact the Planning Enforcement Team in the following ways:
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete our online form:
Call us on 0116 272 7612/ 7632/ 7575
Write to us at Planning Enforcement Team, Blaby District Council, Desford Road, Narborough, Leicestershire, LE19 2EP
Visit us at the Council Offices, Desford Road, Narborough, Leicestershire, LE19 2EP