Breaches of planning permission (planning enforcement)

Local Enforcement Plan Consultation

The National Planning Policy Framework is encouraging councils to publish a Local Enforcement Plan to manage planning enforcement, in a way that is appropriate to their area. The West Suffolk councils are going to produce a plan that will set out how the councils will approach alleged cases of unauthorised development, including what is investigated, how we will investigate and when it is appropriate to take action.

The councils are therefore engaging with residents, elected members, parish councils and businesses to understand the areas of planning enforcement that are of local importance. This will assist the councils to produce a plan that sets out the priorities and timescales for enforcement  complaints so that the Enforcement Team can manage their caseload as efficiently and effectively as possible.

The councils have produced a short survey to consult on the development of a Local Enforcement Plan

Breaches of planning permission can include:

  • building an extension or making alterations to a building without planning permission if it is needed
  • changing the use of a property without permission (such as running a business from a residential address)
  • failing to meet any conditions attached to planning permission
  • carrying out work that differs from the plans that were approved
  • putting up adverts without consent
  • removing or cutting back trees without permission if it is needed
  • carrying out unauthorised work on a Listed Building

If you consider a breach in permission has occurred you can make a complaint

What happens with my complaint?

Once a complaint has been made, we will investigate by visiting the property or assessing its use if the complaint is about how the building is utilised. When our investigation is complete we would then decide whether planning permission would be granted if an application were made.

If it is likely that planning permission would be granted then we would encourage an application to be made. Any complaints or objections to the planning  application will be considered. If however the subject of the breach decides not to apply for planning permission we may take formal action if it is in the public interest to do so.

What can I do if a complaint has been made about me?

If you have carried out work without planning permission we may consider giving you the opportunity to apply for retrospective planning permission. We would guide you through the process and would always encourage that you do apply for retrospective permission. Unauthorised building work to your property can result in difficulties in selling your house in the future.

If the breach is considerable and we feel permission would not be granted you would have to rectify the situation, this could mean reducing the size of an extension or pulling it down. If nothing is done about it, we would consider taking formal action.

For a complete overview of planning enforcement and what could happen if you do not comply with any enforcement notices, read: planning practice guidance, effective enforcement