Local planning enforcement plan

What is a breach of planning control?

Breaches of planning control vary considerably and could involve such matters as the unauthorised erection of a building or extension to a building, a material change of use of land or building, or the display of unauthorised advertisements. The following table gives greater guidance on what is and is not a breach of planning control.

The planning breaches which are underlined below do carry a criminal liability. Whilst other planning breaches are not a criminal offence.

There are time limits as to when enforcement action can be taken. Action has to be instigated within 4 years in relation to the erection of buildings or the change of use of a building for use as a single dwelling house. In the case of any other breach of planning control, including breach of condition, action must be taken within 10 years. There is, however, no time limit for the enforcement of breaches in relation to listed building legislation.

Breaches of planning control

The following are breaches:

  • unauthorised works to a listed building
  • unauthorised demolition within a conservation area
  • unauthorised works to a tree within a conservation area or subject to a preservation order (TPO)
  • unauthorised advertisements
  • breaches of planning conditions
  • not built in accordance with approved plans
  • untidy land affecting the amenity of an area
  • unauthorised engineering works, such as alteration to ground levels
  • unauthorised siting of a caravan or mobile home used as an independent dwelling house
  • unauthorised material changes of use of land or buildings
  • high hedges

Not a breach of planning control

The following are not breaches:

  • internal works, excluding change of use to a non-listed building
  • obstruction of a highway
  • parking of vehicles on highway or grass verges
  • parking of caravans on residential driveways or with curtilage of a dwelling, where is does not form a separate dwelling
  • operation of a business where the residential use remains the main use of the premises
  • land ownership or boundary disputes
  • covenants contained on property deeds
  • works which are 'permitted development' under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015 as amended
  • excepted advertisements under the Town and Country Planning (control of Advertisements) (England) Regulations 2007 as amended
  • clearing of land and over growth of bushes and non-protected trees
  • dangerous structures
  • noise disturbance and general pollution
  • fly tipping
  • business competition
  • blocking of a designated right of way
  • party wall act
  • loss of property value
  • loss of view
  • health and safety
  • site security