Planning Enforcement

What is Planning Enforcement?

Planning Enforcement plays an essential role in delivering an effective and efficient planning service.  Its role involves monitoring ongoing development and investigating possible breaches of planning control and seeking resolutions to planning problems. planning enforcement picture building site

As part of the development management process, effective enforcement ensures that what happens on the ground accords with agreed plans and supports the social, economic and environmental well being of the community.

Although the Council will investigate all alleged breaches of planning control and possible unauthorised developments, it should be noted that planning enforcement is not the “planning police’ and that taking enforcement action is discretionary and not all breaches of planning control will result in formal action being taken. Nor is a breach a criminal offence in most circumstances. Planning enforcement is a very complex area and it should be noted that the legal processes involved are often lengthy and complicated and an ‘instant response’ or resolution cannot be guaranteed. In dealing with breaches there is a need to strike a balance between protecting the environment, protecting the amenities of neighbours and conserving historic building and areas, whilst at the same time enabling the freedom of the owners to use or alter their property as they wish, even though it may initially have been unauthorised.

Planning enforcement will not and cannot investigate or interfere in neighbour disputes such as boundary queries.

For full information on how we deal with breaches of planning control and timescales download a copy of our Planning enforcement policy [159kb].

What is a “Breach of Planning Control”?

A breach of planning control can include the following:

There are also other legislative codes which fall within the remit of the planning enforcement function.  Breaches of this legislation can include the following:

Not all development or change of use requires planning permission from the local planning authority.   You can find out more information at the Planning Portal.planning enforcement picture unfinished wall

Please note; Gedling Borough Council is not responsible for complaints relating to highways, mineral sites and waste deposit sites.  For complaints relating to these please contact Nottinghamshire County Council.



The Planning Enforcement Investigation Process

An investigation will first establish whether ‘development’, as defined within the legislation, has occurred and therefore whether planning permission or consent is required. If development has occurred and does not benefit from planning permission, either from an application or as ‘permitted development’, then the Council will assess any ‘harm’ arising from the breach of planning control and consequently whether it is likely that a permission or consent would be granted in planning terms.

planning enforcement picture developement siteIf during the investigation it is noted that the ‘alleged’ breach does not constitute development, e.g. the matter relates to a boundary dispute, the enforcement investigation will be closed and the complainant updated accordingly. 

During an enforcement investigation the Council will usually attempt to resolve breaches through negotiation in the first instance. This may involve the submission of a retrospective application or a requirement to take steps to remedy specific problems with a development. 

If a voluntary resolution is not achieved the Council can consider the use of formal enforcement proceedings in an attempt to secure compliance.  The Council has a general discretion to take enforcement action, when it is considered appropriate and expedient to do so taking into account the ‘harm’ caused by the breach of planning control.  Any action taken must meet the tests as set out in government guidance and be proportionate to the breach of planning control to which it relates.  Formal enforcement action may not be considered appropriate in every case.


Report an alleged breach of planning or advertisement control

You can report an activity you believe to be in breach of planning or advertisement control by the following methods;

Given that the complainant’s details are entirely confidential, we do not usually investigate anonymous complaints.  If complainants feel uncomfortable in providing their contact details, an officer will be able to advise on the best course of action.  You can also contact your councillor to submit an enquiry on your behalf.Advert picture

Planning enforcement is not able to assist in matters which are covered by other legislation, for example, complaints in relation to public health matters, high hedges or the improper use of the highway.  Any complaints with regard to these issues will be passed onto the relevant department.

 In all cases the Council will require the following information to carryout an investigation;




Get in Touch

(0115) 901 3971

Civic Centre
Arnot Hill Park

Full Details & Directions

Back to Top