Planning Enforcement - Breaches

What is a breach of planning control?

It's generally known that planning permission is needed to build new houses, shops, factories and similar buildings. The change of use of land and buildings can also need planning permission.

Most people get professional advice and then apply for planning permission. However, sometimes they are unaware that permission is needed. Occasionally it is deliberate.

A breach of planning control can include:

  • building work or a change of use without planning permission
  • work that is not in accordance with approved plans and conditions
  • work to a Listed Building without consent
  • unauthorised advertisements
  • damage to protected trees, or works to trees in a Conservation Area without giving notice
  • untidy land or buildings that affect local amenity

Not all development or change of use requires planning permission. You can find out more information on the Planning Portal.

You can also see our 'Permitted Development Rights' page.

What isn't a breach of planning control?

  • Internal works to a non-listed building (but you might need Building Regulations approval).
  • Competition from another business
  • Obstruction of a highway or public right of way
  • Parking of commercial vehicles on the highway, in residential areas, or on grass verges
  • Parking a caravan within the residential boundary of a property, provided that it is not used as a separate dwelling
  • Clearing land of overgrowth, bushes and trees, provided they are not subject to planning protection
  • Operating a business from home where the residential use remains the primary use and there is no adverse impact on residential amenity
  • Boundary disputes – disputes about ownership are a private matter and cannot be controlled through planning law
  • High hedge disputes
  • Deeds and covenants are a private matter and cannot be controlled through planning law. Contact your solicitor for advice.
  • Insertion of some windows in houses – once a building has been occupied, windows may be inserted into existing walls, provided there is not a planning condition to prevent this.  Check the original planning consent through the Planning Public Access.
  • Where development is 'permitted development'.
  • Trespass on land
  • Health and Safety issues
  • Damage to property. You should seek appropriate legal advice
  • A loss of value to property


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