When a complaint is received, officers will attempt to resolve matters informally in the first instance and at the expense of the developer. Formal action will only be taken where there is demonstrable harm being caused to matters of public interest.
Formal action will not be taken against minor, infrequent, technical or trivial breaches of planning control where there are no aggravating factors. Planning law has a provision for development to be regularised retrospectively and if possible this is a course of action that will be followed.
I've submitted a complaint...what happens now?
A preliminary investigation will be carried out within 10 working days of your complaint being received and within 15 working days Officers will contact you to advise of their findings and whether or not the complaint will be taken further (this may or may not include a site visit depending on whether the site is known to officers or not).
Whilst some enforcement matters can be resolved quickly, others can take significantly longer but we will endeavour to keep you informed of any progress.
We will usually contact you to advise of any progress, such as the submission of a planning application. Once we have closed the file, we will contact you to advise you of the outcome and explain our decision.
Outcome of Enforcement Action
There are several possible outcomes that can come from pursuing formal enforcement action:
- That the work being carried out does not require planning permission (it is classed as Permitted development - see information on Permitted development via the Planning Portal (external link)).
- That the work being carried out does require permission and a retrospective application is submitted.
- The alleged offender is required to return to the site to its original condition through the serving of an Enforcement Notice (The breach itself may not be a criminal offence, but failure to comply with an enforcement notice is)
- It may be determined that there has been a breach of planning control, however it may not be expedient or in the public interest to pursue the matter.