What happens next?

Upon receiving a complaint the Authority will:

  • Acknowledge complaints within 5 working days from receipt.
  • Assess whether the complaint and supporting evidence constitutes unauthorised development (defined under Section 55 of the Act) to warrant an investigation.
  • If there is insufficient evidence to support the complaint, the complainant will be notified that the matter will not be registered until the necessary information has been supplied. 
  • Following receipt of sufficient documentation, the matter will be registered and categorised in line with prioritisation system (continued within the Planning Enforcement Charter).
  • Complainants will be notified of case reference and the priority the case has been given and approximate timescales of when an initial site visit is likely to take place.
  • Investigate the details of the complaint
  • Establish whether a breach of planning control or listed building control has taken place.
  • Try to negotiate a solution with the “transgressor” if the development/use can be stopped or if there is a possibility that planning permission might be granted.
  • Where there is no breach found, the complainant will be notified that no action is proposed.
  • Where a breach has occurred, we will gather sufficient robust evidence as necessary to be satisfied that formal action is justified.
  • Consider the expediency of taking formal enforcement action having regard to the development plan and all other material considerations.
  • If the Authority does not consider that formal enforcement action is expedient then the complainant will be notified in writing of the reason/s why the Authority is not taking any further action.

Why can enforcement action take so long?

Many of the reasons have been explained above but it is often frustrating to complainants that despite contacting the Authority, the activity which is causing concern still persists. Some of the factors which can result in apparently slow progress include:

  • the gathering of satisfactory robust evidence;
  • continuing negotiation to try to resolve the matter with the offender without pursing formal action;
  • consideration of an application seeking to remedy the matter; and
  • awaiting determination of an appeal against formal Notices.