Planning Enforcement Information


About planning enforcement

We don't enforce minerals and waste development. That's looked after by Kent County Council.

We look into breaches of planning permission and cases where works have been done without permission.

We'll enforce the breach from start to finish. This includes serving of any formal notices, appeals and court action.

You can report a breach using our online form.

You can see what formal action we can take by looking at our Enforcement Action page.

What is a planning breach?

A breach can happen when:

  • The way a building or a piece of land is used has changed without permission
  • Works have been done without permission
  • Permission has been granted, but the development or use of it isn't being done in the way the plans or conditions say it should be

Some works can be carried out without needing permission and wouldn't be classed as breaches. To see what they are take a look at our Interactive planning help page.

Other breaches can be classed as criminal acts and can result in high penalties. They are unauthorised:

  • Advertisements
  • Demolition of an unlisted building in a conservation area
  • Work to a listed building
  • Works to protected trees

Report a planning breach

If you think there's been a breach or are concerned works have been carried out without permission then report it to us.

Before reporting

You should search for the application to see if we've granted permission or not. You'll also be able to see any conditions that were added.

Search for a Planning Application

Report it

We'll need to know:

  • Your name, address, phone number and email address
  • The address of the breach
  • What's been going on
  • If it's causing any harm
  • How you're affected by it
  • The names of those, the company or contractor involved
  • The date and time of the breach

Report a Planning Breach

When a planning breach has been reported

We'll investigate the breach then decide whether to take action or not.

We'll contact you within one working day of our initial site visit and once we've made our decision. We'll also update you when major milestones have been met.

Priority one

A site visit will be done within one working day of receiving the report and includes breaches about unauthorised works:

  • For the stationing of caravans
  • To listed buildings and
  • To protected trees
Priority two

A site visit will be done within 10 working days of receiving the report and includes breaches about:

  • Breaches to planning conditions
  • Changes of use of land or buildings
  • General building works and
  • All other potential breaches

For more information about the two priorities take a look at our Local Enforcement Plan.

Types of enforcement action

We'll decide to take action based on whether the development is causing harm or not.

Once it's clear a breach has happened, we'll consider if we need to take action and what action to take. If:

  • It's a minor breach we probably won't take any action
  • The development causes no harm and falls in line with our Local Plan. We'll ask the developer to make a planning application and leave it at that. If their application is later refused we'll consider what action to take then
  • The breach is exempt because of when it was built. We'll ask them to apply for a lawful development certificate and leave it at that. If their application is later refused we'll consider what action to take then
  • If we're unlikely to ever grant planning permission. We'll ask that all work stops and any unauthorised works are removed or changed

We'll normally only take formal action as a last resort.

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