Reporting a planning breach

If you think a development has breached planning control in your area, you can report this to the council's planning office. The council can investigate. If there's planning breach, the council can give the developer or landowner an enforcement notice.

Identifying a planning breach

A planning breach occurs when building or certain other development activities take place without the necessary planning permission or consent from the council.

A breach of planning control can be:

  • carrying out development without planning permission
  • failing to meet any condition or limitation attached to planning permission

When a planning breach is an offence

It's not a criminal offence:

  • to carry out development without planning permission
  • to fail to meet a planning condition or limitation

When the council serves an enforcement notice about a planning breach but the developer or landowner doesn't comply, they commit an offence.

Planning approach to dealing with planning breaches

If you built property or developed a site without planning permission, the council may ask you to apply retrospectively.

If the council considers the development an unacceptable breach of planning control, they may take enforcement action.

Depending on the type of breach, the council may serve:

  • an enforcement notice
  • a breach of condition notice

Reporting a planning breach

To report a planning breach in your area, you should write to the council's planning office and include:

  • address of the land or property where breach happened
  • development activity or action breaching planning control
  • date and time when activity happened or began
  • problems caused by the breach
  • ​Planning offices in Northern Ireland

Council investigation of planning breaches

The council will investigate complaints about breaches of planning control and may carry out a site visit. They investigate to find out:

  • if a breach of planning control or an offence has occurred
  • who is responsible

When taking action against a breach of planning control, the council:

  • considers harm caused by the breach
  • takes into account how enforcement action could affect local and regional economies

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