Local planning enforcement plan

What is development?

Planning permission is only needed if the work being carried out meets the statutory definition of 'development' which is set out in Section 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Development is defined by the Act as: '... the carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land, or the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land'. For the purposes of the legislation building operations includes:

  • demolition of buildings
  • rebuilding
  • structural alterations of or additions to buildings
  • other operations normally undertaken by a person carrying on business as a builder
  • engineering operations
  • material changes of use of land and buildings
  • mining operations
  • subdivision of a building (including any part it) used as a dwelling house for use as two or more separate dwelling houses

The categories of work that do not amount to 'development' are set out in Section 55(2) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. These include, but are not limited to the following:

  • interior alterations (except mezzanine floors which increase the floorspace of retail premises by more than 200 square metres)
  • building operations which do not materially affect the external appearance of a building. The term 'materially affect' has no statutory definition, but is linked to the significance of the change which is made to a building’s external appearance
  • a change in the primary use of land or buildings, where the before and after use falls within the same use class

Activity or work that is not classed as development under Section 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 cannot be addressed through the planning enforcement service. We will use our best endeavours to ensure any queries for work falling outside the definition of development is passed on to the relevant department. If a third-party organisation is required to investigate or pursue action, we will use our best endeavours to identify the organisation and it will be a matter for the complainant to pursue a complaint directly.