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Planning Enforcement Information


We investigate alleged breaches of planning permission and cases where development has been done without permission.

A breach could be when a building has been built or altered without planning permission. If it’s not built following the specific conditions or where the use of a property or land has changed without permission. Some development doesn’t need planning permission and is carried out under permitted development.

We enforce the breach from start to finish. This includes the service of any formal notices, appeals and court action. We do not enforce minerals and waste development. This is the responsibility of Kent County Council.

If you want to report a breach visit our breaches page.

You can see what enforcement action we take by taking a look at our enforcement action page.

What is a planning breach?

There are two main ways in which a breach can occur:

  • Building work, engineering operations, changes in the use of land or building that are carried out without planning permission.
  • Where planning permission is granted but the development or use is not being carried out how the plans or conditions were set out.

Some development does not need planning permission and is carried out under permitted development. There is no breach if carried out this way.

There are certain breaches of planning control that can be classed as a criminal act and can result in high penalties. These breaches are:

  • Unauthorised work to a listed building
  • Unauthorised demolition of an unlisted building in a conservation area
  • Unauthorised works to protected trees
  • Unauthorised advertisements

Report a planning breach

If you think planning permission has been breached or you’re concerned work has been carried out without permission then report it to us.

Before reporting

Before you report a breach to us, you should search for the application in question to see if permission has been granted and what conditions were attached to it.

Search for a Planning Application

Report it

When reporting a breach we'll need to know:

  • The exact location of the site or property
  • The alleged breach
  • What if any harm is being caused and how you're being affected
  • Your name, address and phone number
  • The name of the person or organisation responsible for the breach and
  • The date and time of the breach

Report a Planning Breach

After reporting a planning breach

We will investigate the case before considering whether to take any action. Evidence is needed to prove a breach has occurred.

We will let you know the outcome of our investigation within 21 days.

Types of enforcement action

We decide whether to take enforcement action based on whether the development causes harm.

When it is clear that a breach has happened, we will consider if action needs to be taken and what action to take. The actions we take could be:

  • If the breach is minor with no significant effects – no further action may be taken.
  • If the development is in line with the relevant Local Plan Policies and causes no harm – we will usually ask them to complete a planning application for the development and no further action will be taken unless the application is refused. If the application is refused we will consider what further action to take.
  • If the breach could be exempt from the enforcement action because of the time it was built – an application for a lawful development certificate will be invited and no further action will be taken unless the application is refused. If the application is refused we will consider what further action to take.
  • If planning permission is unlikely to be granted – we will ask the work to stop or the unauthorised development to be removed or changed.

Formal action will be taken as a last resort.

Planning Enforcement Policy Statement

You can find out more about planning enforcement and practice standards by reading our policy statement and our policy matrix.

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