Reporting a planning breach
If you think a development has broken planning rules in your area, you can report this to the council's planning office to investigate. Councils can take enforcement action if someone has broken planning rules.
Breaking planning rules
If you build without the necessary planning permission or consent from the council or the Department for Infrastructure, you will be breaking planning rules.
Breaking planning rules can be:
- carrying out development without planning permission
- failing to meet any condition or limitation attached to planning permission
Action against breaking planning rules
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 breaking of planning control, they may take enforcement action.
Depending on the type of breach, the council may serve:
- an enforcement notice
- a stop notice
- a breach of condition notice
When it is an offence
Someone who carries out development without planning permission or fails to meet a planning condition or limitation could get a notice from the Council telling them to stop.
It is a criminal offence to ignore an enforcement notice, a stop notice or breach of condition notice about breaking planning rules.
It is also a criminal offence to carry out any of the following:
- carrying out almost any works, including demolition, to a listed building without listed building consent
- failing to comply with any conditions attached to a listed building consent
- demolition of a building in a conservation area without conservation area consent (demolition includes any structural alteration of a building including demolishing part of a building)
- failing to comply with any conditions attached to a conservation area consent
- undertaking works likely to destroy a tree / trees that are subject to a tree preservation order
- undertaking works likely to destroy a tree / trees in a conservation area
- contravention of hazardous substances control
- displaying of advertisements without consent
Make an enforcement complaint
If you think development is going ahead without permission, you can report it to the council to investigate.
If you are making a complaint, you should include :
- the address of the land or property where the rules were broken
- a description of the development activity or action that breaks planning control
- date and time when the activity happened or began
- problems caused by the development activity or action
The council will investigate complaints made and may carry out a site visit. They will investigate to find out:
- if a breach of planning control or an offence has happened
- who is responsible
When taking action against unlawful development, the council may try to resolve the issue by discussion with the developer or landowner before taking formal enforcement action.