The Enforcement Service is part of the Local Planning Authority which deals with complaints about alleged unauthorised developments/uses, the display of advertisements without consent, non-compliance with planning conditions and unauthorised works or demolition of listed buildings.
Planning permission is normally required for building works and the change of use of a building though there are important exceptions. Consent is normally required to display an advertisement, or to carry out works to or demolish a listed building.
However it is not an "offence" in planning law to start work without permission - a person does so at their own risk.
Where the relevant permission and/or consent has not been granted, and a development goes ahead, or continues, the Council may consider taking enforcement action.
It is important to remember that enforcement (legal) action is not an instantaneous remedy to breaches of planning control. Enforcement action will only be taken if all other negotiations have failed, and the Council considers it expedient to take action to remedy the breach of planning control. This follows guidance given to Councils by the Government.
Formal investigations and Legal Proceedings can sometimes be time consuming and frustratingly lengthy, because of negotiations and statutory time periods such as:
More information about the Council's approach when considering enforcement action and details of the procedures that are followed can be found in the Council’s Guide to enforcement