Planning enforcement are responsible for making sure developments in the Borough do not take place without the correct permission. If a development has been carried out without necessary permission or not in accordance with planning permission which has been granted, we will normally seek the voluntary co-operation of those responsible to resolve the issue.
Planning Enforcement Plan
This document forms the council’s plan specifically in respect of its Planning Enforcement function. It sets out the operational and decision-making framework for how the Council will investigate reports of alleged unauthorised development and how the Council will seek to resolve breaches of planning control within the Borough.
Tel: 0845 907 2244 ext: 3181 or 3182
What is a breach of planning control?
A development carried out without the relevant planning permission is a breach of planning control.
The execution of unauthorised works is not defined in law as a criminal offence unless the works are being made to a listed building; constitute 'total or substantial demolition' of a structure in a Conservation Area; involve the felling of protected trees in a conservation area; or involve the erection of unauthorised advertisements.
A breach may involve:
- Building works affecting the external appearance of the building.
- Internal and external works to a listed building.
- Material changes of use.
- Non-compliance with conditions attached to planning consents.
- The erection of advertisements.
- Substantial demolition in a Conservation Area.
- The felling of protected trees.
- Our Planning Enforcement team investigates these breaches.
What isn't a breach of planning control?
It is important to be aware that certain works or changes of use may not require consent. Where permission is not required from the local planning authority, or where planning legislation permits the development, the council will not be able to take enforcement action.
However, our power is discretionary, and it will only take action where it considers there is serious harm to the amenity of the area, not for every breach of planning control.
Reporting an alleged breach of planning control
If you believe that a breach of planning control has occurred, you can make an enquiry to our Planning Enforcement team.
You can submit your enquiry by completing the form at the bottom of this page - please include as much detail as possible: the majority of successful investigations are aided by information supplied by the complainant, and you can help the council by being prepared to collect information and give evidence for appeals or prosecutions. It is for this reason that the council cannot accept anonymous enquiries.
Ideally we need your full name and address, the address the complaint relates to, and full details of the complaint.
The Planning Enforcement team does not investigate:
This would be a civil matter between the relevant neighbours and would not be something the Council could get involved with.
You may wish to contact the Citizen’s Advice Bureau for advice
Land boundaries or ownership disputes
We do not retain this information. You can obtain it by contacting the Land Registry. This would be a civil matter between the relevant neighbours and would not be something we could get involved with.
Local office: (0115) 935 1166
Works to party walls
Works to party walls are purely a civil matter controlled by the Party Wall etc Act 1996 and the council has no enforcement power to intervene. You should contact a party wall surveyor for advice in this matter; alternatively, the Building Control team may be able to offer assistance.
You can download advice and guidance on this matter from the Department for Communities and Local Government planning website
Smells, noise and pollution
If activities at your neighbour's property are resulting in an unacceptable level of noise, smell or other forms of pollution, you should contact the council's environmental protection team.
The Planning service cannot intervene in this instance unless an unauthorised change of use has occurred. If a change of use has occurred, then we can only address the use itself, and not any resulting forms of pollution.
Use of development on highways or pavements
We do not have a Highways department. Derbyshire County Council are responsible for all highways in the borough -
Tel: 01629 580 000
Dangerous structures are covered by our Building Control department
What happens next?
If it is established that a breach of planning control has occurred, our Planning Enforcement team will attempt to negotiate an informal resolution by inviting a retrospective planning application or requesting that remedial works be carried out. If informal negotiations fail to reach a positive conclusion, we may decide to take formal action.
Although many cases can be resolved informally, we often has to take action, serving many notices every year, as well as instigating a variety of legal proceedings including prosecutions and injunctive relief.
Planning legislation empowers us to take action when breaches of planning control have taken place. This usually takes the form of an Enforcement Notice which specifies what is wrong, what needs to be done to remedy the problem, and the rights of appeal against the notice itself.
If an enforcement notice is ignored, or if the offending building or activity remains in place after the dismissal of an enforcement appeal, the offender can face prosecution in court. A fine may follow, together with an order to remove the offending development.
Additionally, we have powers to serve a Breach of Condition Notice against development taking place at variance to conditions attached to a planning permission. There is no right of appeal. If the specified problem is not rectified within a stated time period, direct prosecution can result against a person on whom a Breach of Conditions Notice is served.
Very occasionally urgent action is necessary to prevent serious breaches of planning law. For example, we may discover that a person is in the process of undertaking extensive damaging works to a listed building which, in a senior officer's opinion, would not receive Listed Building Consent. When such instances occur, we will serve a Stop Notice requiring all work to stop immediately. In a few cases, legal action will be taken against persons guilty of an offence under planning law.
The unauthorised alteration, damage or demolition of a listed building is a criminal offence which can result in a heavy fine or imprisonment, together with a requirement to restore the harmed building. Likewise, if works are carried out to a tree that is subject to a Tree Preservation Order or within a Conservation Area without consent the offender may be fined and required to plant a replacement tree. The illegal display of advertisements can also lead directly to a prosecution.