Voluntary resolution

In encouraging you to voluntarily resolve a breach of planning control for which you are responsible, we may:-

  1. Offer you written or verbal advice.
  2. Give you a verbal or written warning.
  3. Provide you with one opportunity to remedy the issue within a proportionate time period prior to the consideration of the use of formal action.

The majority of breaches of planning control which require remedy are resolved in this manner without the need for formal action. However in the circumstances where a breach of planning control is so serious that it merits immediate action, where necessary the Council will take formal action without offering an opportunity for the matter to be resolved voluntarily.

Formal action

Formal planning enforcement action may be taken where:-

  1. The matter is so serious that it merits immediate action;
  2. There is a lack of confidence that the matter will be resolved voluntarily;
  3. There is a history of non-resolution of issues by a voluntary means;
  4. The matter has not been satisfactorily resolved on a voluntary basis.



Such action can take a number of forms including but not limited to issuing

  1. Enforcement Notices and Listed Building Enforcement Notices requiring the actions specified in the Notice to be undertaken within the time period specified. There is a right of appeal against these Notices.
  2. Breach of Condition Notices to require compliance with conditions imposed on a grant of planning permission. There is no right of appeal against these notices.
  3. Untidy Land Notices to require the improvement of land or buildings in order to remedy their visual impact on the amenities of the surrounding area. There is a right of appeal to the Magistrates Court against such notices.
  4. Improvement or Repairs Notices in respect of Listed Buildings which are falling into disrepair.
  5. Where it is considered expedient to do so a Temporary Stop Notice maybe issued.
  6. In appropriate circumstances involving potentially serious and/or irreversible unauthorised development the issue of an injunction.

Non-compliance with the Notices listed above within the required timescale is an offence which the District Council will normally seek to pursue by means of a prosecution.


In addition to non-compliance with formal Notices, the unauthorised display of advertisements; the alteration of Listed Buildings without consent and the unauthorised undertaking of works to trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order or within a Conservation Area is a criminal offence.

For that reason, except in exceptional circumstances, we will require that any such works cease immediately and that unlawful advertisements are removed within 5 days. Where that cessation or removal does not occur and/or where such unauthorised works result in material harm to protected buildings or trees, legal action will usually be taken.

Decisions to proceed with legal action will take account of the Crown Prosecutor’s Guide and in particular will be made with reference to:-

  1. The availability of sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction; and
  2. Whether it is in the public interest to proceed with such action.

Direct action

There may be circumstances, where by reason of the nature or extent of the unauthorised activity or development, non-compliance with a notice may result in the District Council arranging for appropriate remedial works to be undertaken in default of the responsible party doing so. With the exception of the circumstances described below, this approach will only be used in appropriate circumstances. In most cases, the Council will seek to recover the cost of undertaking those works from the responsible parties including for example by means of the imposition of a charge on the land in question.

In the circumstances where an informal request to remove an unlawful advertisement has not been complied with, in appropriate circumstances the District Council will use the powers available to it to remove the advertisement.

For information on how we handle and process your personal data, please visit the Enforcement Privacy Notice page.