What happens if someone complains about me?
As the local planning authority we have a duty to investigate any potential breaches of planning control. If someone complains about your development we will need to investigate their claims.
The first thing we will do is contact you to tell you that we have received a complaint about your development.
We will tell you what the allegation is (but not who made the complaint) and you will be given an opportunity to give your side of the case.
We encourage you to respond positively and provide the information which we need to resolve the matter. It is beneficial to all parties if any breach is addressed at an early stage.
It may be necessary for one of our planning enforcement officers to attend the development site as part of the investigation. We will use the information from the site visit to assess the allegation that has been made against you.
Allowing our enforcement officer to attend your development site and take photographs will help speed up the process. You should be aware that our planning enforcement officers have legal rights of entry to land and property in order to do so.
The enforcement officer will make themselves known to the landowner/developer when they enter a site. Where we can we will give advance warning of a site visit but this is not always possible.
If you are found to be in breach of planning control then we will ask you to remove/cease or modify the unauthorised development or activity. A reasonable period of time will be allowed for you to do this.
In some circumstances, you may be invited to submit a retrospective planning application. If you are found to have the correct planning permission but have not followed all of the conditions or have deviated from it in a minor way, you will normally be able to apply for a minor non-material amendment.
We understand that in many cases a breach of planning control is not intentional and can be the result of a misunderstanding, or a person being unaware of the planning requirements.
If this is the case then we will usually give you a chance to put matters right before taking formal action. However, if the breach is causing serious harm or nuisance to public amenity, formal action will not be delayed by protracted negotiation.