Planning enforcement investigates possible breaches of planning control and aims to, where necessary, resolve them by using the most appropriate means or action.
Examples of Breaches:
- Building works and engineering operations carried out without planning permission, which require consent.
- Development which is not carried out in accordance with the approved plans.
- Failure to comply with planning conditions or obligations
- Works to Listed Buildings, which affect their character and setting, that do not have the necessary consent.
- Removal of, works to, protected trees without permission.
- Illegal Advertisements, including fly posting
- The unauthorised change of use of land, e.g. the operation of a business from a residential property.
Making a complaint
Concerns relating to possible breaches of planning control should be reported to the Council’s Planning Enforcement Officer, on 01438 242159, they can be expressed in writing by email or post to the Planning division at the following address:
Head of Planning and Regeneration
Letters should contain as much useful information about the suspected breach of planning control as possible.
- The following is essential to enable an effective investigation to take place:
- The exact location of the site, or address of the property in question.
- The nature of the alleged breach.
- What problem the alleged breach is causing.
- If known, it is also useful to provide the name or suspected identity of the person(s) perpetrating the alleged breach and an indication of when the breach commenced.
Will my complaint be treated in confidence?
All investigations are carried out on a strictly confidential basis and the complainants details will not be revealed by the Enforcement Officer. Where serious breaches of control are involved, which may involve prosecution, the complainant may be invited to give a witness statement if their evidence is considered of primary importance.
However, anonymous complaints will not normally be investigated unless the matter is considered to be a serious breach of planning control.
The Council aims to acknowledge receipt of your complaint within 3 working days.
Initially the Council will need to establish whether a breach of planning control has occurred. This may involve the Enforcement Officer visiting the site and/or your property. The Council aims to investigate complaints within 10 working days.
In any event, the Council will aim to inform you of whether or not a breach of planning control has occurred, and if so what action is necessary to remedy that breach within 21 working days, advising both the complainant and the alleged person causing the breach, in writing .
If a breach of planning control has occurred, the Planning division will consider whether the breach may be an acceptable form of development. If this is the case, a retrospective planning application will be invited. Under such circumstances, neighbouring residents would be invited to comment on the development so that their views may be taken into consideration when determining the application.
If the development is considered to be unacceptable, the Enforcement Officer will normally approach the person responsible for the breach of planning control and attempt to resolve the breach informally. If the breach cannot be resolved informally the Council may serve a formal notice requiring the remedy of the breach. If the notice is not complied with, the Council may decide to seek a prosecution. Any owner/occupier, or anyone with an interest in the land can be prosecuted.
Where appropriate and in cases where other means have not secured compliance, the Council may consider it necessary to take direct action to remedy the breach of planning control, recovering the cost from the owner or placing a legal charge on the land.
NOTE: The vast majority of breaches are resolved informally through negotiation and persuasion. Formal action will only be considered in accordance with National and Local planning policies and only takes place where the Council considers it expedient to do so and where all other means to resolve the breach have failed.
The enforcement section does not deal with:
- Matters relating solely to the emission of noise, smells, dust and other forms of environmental pollution, unless involving a breach of planning control.
- Matters relating solely to methods of building construction. These are dealt with by the Building Control section, who can be contacted on 01438 242264.
- Matters relating to private rights of access, neighbour and boundary disputes. These are matters of civil law and advice should be sought from a solicitor.
- Matters relating to the restrictions imposed on property by a covenant. As above, this is a matter of civil law and advice should be sought from a solicitor.
The Enforcement Register show all Enforcement Notices and Breach of Condition Notices served since 1 January 2000. This information is updated within 1 working day of a notice being served.
|Enforcement Reference||Address||Breach ||Date|
|11/00514/ENF||Carports serving nos. 4, 7 and 9 Pembridge Gardens, Stevenage||Construction of carports with ridge 0.5 metre higher and eaves 0.55 metre higher than approved||17 July 2012||Enforcement Notice (Unauthorised Works)
|10/00184/ENF||56 The Hedgerows ||Change of use from residential to mixed residential and commercial storage||13 May 2010||Enforcement Notice (Material Change of Use)
|7 Jessop Road||Storage of car parts and untidy garden||14 Nov 2003||1) Section 215 Notice
| || || ||14 Nov 2003||2) Enforcement Notice (Change of Use)
|EN29/01||7 Barclay Crescent ||1) Erection of single storey timber clad building without planning permission ||07 Aug 2003||Enforcement Notice (Operational Development)
| || ||2) Change of use from residential to mixed residential and business purposes||29 Nov 2001||1) Enforcement Notice (Change of Use)
| || || ||12 Aug 2002||2) Appeal Decision