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Planning controls

If you suspect a breach of planning control, report it to the local planning authority's enforcement officer as soon as possible.

Local authorities can choose whether to take action, so you need to be clear that the problem is serious enough not to be ignored.

Ask the enforcement officer what is likely to happen.

It is also crucial you report all possible breaches of planning control that you notice, particularly in major cases.

Top tip

The council will have to specify exactly what the breaches are and what steps are needed to rectify them when it contacts the people responsible.

Local authorities have a range of powers to deal with planning breaches.

The procedures are complex, but action usually involves issuing a notice to at least the owner, occupier or person responsible for the activity on the land.

Notices can require that there is a

  • Halt to action
  • A remediation of a breach,

and can require details of what is going on and why.

Enforcement options include

  • Injunctions
  • Contravention notices
  • Temporary stop notices
  • Breach of condition notices
  • Enforcement notices
  • Stop notices.

In addition, 'Article 4 Directions' can also be used to stop development that can normally take place without applying for planning permission, such as fencing, demolition, or the holding of events for up to 28 days a year.

Once a Direction is served then the development in question will need planning permission in future. Local authorities need the permission of the Secretary of State to serve Article 4 directions in the vast majority of cases, and normally have to be highly specific about where they should apply.

If you want your local planning authority to serve a Direction, you should make your case in a similar way to when you would respond to a planning application or call for enforcement action.