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Planning Enforcement

Sometimes people undertake development such as building work to their property, changing signage on their business or changing the use of land without planning permission, knowingly or not. However, not all development requires planning permission.

If you are concerned that someone undertaking development is breaking planning regulations because what they are doing does not have planning permission, or it is not following the conditions of an approved application, then the Council has a duty to investigate and take action when required.

This is where the Council’s Enforcement Service could help. The Council takes breaches of planning regulations very seriously and has adopted a policy to set out how they will be addressed. To read this policy and understand what you can expect from the Planning Enforcement Service please follow the link below.

Planning Enforcement Policy

We would be grateful for your views on this policy. If you have any comments please use the telephone number or address below, or e-mail us at Planning Enforcement.

The Council's Licensing and Enforcement Team also work with staff in the planning team in relation to selling motor vehicles on the street and untidy land.

How do I report a suspected breach of planning regulation?

As above, if you are concerned that someone is in breach of planning legislation because you believe that they do not have planning permission for their development, or it is not following the conditions of an approved application, then the Council, in accordance with the Planning Enforcement Policy, has a duty to investigate and take action when required.

If you are concerned about a possible breach of planning control then you can report this to the Council either by using this online form

Or, alternatively, you can call: 01782 742408

Finally, you can write to Development Management, Regeneration and Development Directorate, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, Castle House, Barracks Road, Newcastle, Staffs ST5 1BL.

Your concerns are important to us, so officers will investigate all relevant complaints. Written complaints are preferred as this improves accuracy and may be required as evidence.

We also prefer it if you provide;

  • an accurate site location (plan or full address)
  • the exact nature of the problem and the date or time that the breach began
  • your name, address and telephone number (so we can keep you informed of the progress of your complaint)
  • the name, address and telephone number of the owner/occupier of the land in question
  • any relevant background information such as previous problems or breaches.

Protection of complainants

We treat the identity of complainants as confidential (under the Data Protection Act). If, however,  the breach can’t be resolved through negotiation, the matter could progress to formal action at a public inquiry or prosecution in court.

If this happens, it may not be possible for the Council to guarantee the anonymity of the complainant particularly where the issue only affects a small number of residents.

What can the Council take action on?

Development can take the form of many things, from the erection of walls and fences, building operations on residential and business properties, to changes of use of land.

Where development is undertaken, and planning permission is required but not approved first, we call this ‘unauthorised’. The list below is the sort of matters that the Council can help with:

  1. Major earth moving, both on and off site
  2. Unauthorised buildings or extensions to residential and business properties
  3. Unauthorised works to listed buildings, or buildings within a conservation area
  4. Changes in the use of land and buildings, for example the use of a house for vehicle repairs
  5. Unauthorised advertisements, sign boards or bill posting
  6. Untidy and overgrown gardens and land
  7. Where someone is in breach of conditions imposed on a planning permission
  8. Works to trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order , or those in a conservation area
  9. High hedges (under Part 8 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003)

What can’t the Council take action on?

We are unable to take action against issues that fall outside of planning legislation, as these are considered civil matters. These are things like;

  1. Boundary disputes, such as the location of boundary fencing and walls
  2. Internal works to buildings (sometimes covered by building regulations)
  3. Blocking private rights of way including driveways

How we investigate your complaint?

As we take breaches of planning legislation seriously, our first step would be to establish if there has actually been a breach. For example, does the development actually need planning permission.

To do this it is likely we will need to visit the property or land to see exactly what works have been carried out, and to discuss this matter with the owner in more detail. We will use a number of different methods to gather information which will include taking photographs, discussing matters with neighbours and any complainants, and looking at any previous complaints or planning history.

Remember, sometimes the development undertaken may not actually need planning permission, and our investigation will establish if this is the case. Whatever the result, we will seek to keep you informed of the progress of the case, whether you are the complainant, or someone being complained about.

Action taken

To effect the Order in the High Court of Justice dated 22 June 2020 it is a requirement that a copy of the order is displayed on the website.  The full text of the Order is available to read here.

Last updated 16 October 2020

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