Some people fail to ask for the necessary permission before carrying out works or starting an activity. Others may receive planning permission but fail to act in compliance with the permission or some conditions that may have been imposed. The Planning Enforcement Service deals with these breaches.
Investigating alleged breaches of planning control
It is not a criminal offence to carry out development, which should have first been the subject of planning permission, but it will become a criminal offence if an Enforcement Notice is not complied with. Enforcement action is normally taken as a last resort but there may be cases where formal action is necessary from the outset. Investigations are carried out in accordance with the Police and Criminal Investigations Act and in some cases may result in prosecutions.
All reported breaches of planning control will be investigated. For each individual case, we will:
- Register all written complaints.
- Treat all complaints as confidential within the Council.
- Acknowledge complaints within 3 working days (providing contact names and addresses are provided).
- Carry out site visits and investigations on a priority basis.
- Request the submission of a retrospective application where there is a likelihood of permission being granted.
- Inform the complainant by letter when a retrospective application has been received.
- Where necessary, we will take enforcement action by serving the appropriate legal notice specifying what needs to be done and by when.
- Inform the complainant when enforcement action has been taken and when the Enforcement Notice takes effect.
- Handle enforcement appeals and keep the complainant aware of the proceedings.
- Notify all complainants when the investigations have been completed (providing contact names and addresses are provided).
Monitoring approved development during the construction period
Approved development may be monitored during construction. We will:
- Carry out site visits to schemes and check compliance with conditions.
- Discuss with developers the options available to remedy any breaches of control.
- Require the submission of amended planning applications for consideration when significant departures from approved plans are identified on site.
- Take Enforcement Action as appropriate when necessary.
When will formal action be considered?
We will consider formal action when:
- Development is commenced or a change of use occurs without the relevant planning consent.
- Works are undertaken to trees covered by preservation orders without consent. (This is a criminal offence).
- Displaying advertisements without consent is a criminal offence, court action will result when signs are not removed as requested.
- Demolition or alteration to Listed Buildings or buildings within Conservation Areas takes place without consent. (This is a criminal offence)
What we will not do
- Deal with neighbour disputes.
- Investigate land ownership / boundary disputes.
Report a suspected breach of planning control
You can assist by collecting as much information as possible (keeping records such as times and dates of events etc.), and being prepared to, if necessary, give evidence if legal action is being taken. You can report a suspected breach of planning control by:
- Write to: Planning Control, Environment Directorate, County Hall, Mold, Flintshire, CH7 6NF.
What if a complaint is made about your premises?
If a complaint is made about your premises, we will:
- Not enter your property unless we believe that is necessary to do so. Our officers will always carry proof of their identity. Officers have Right of Entry to land and property to carry out investigations and may take photographic records as evidence.
- Carry out a full and independent investigation of the matter before deciding on any action.
- Tell you what the conclusions of our investigations are. We will inform you of what you have done wrong, what we would like you to do to put it right, how long we will allow you to do this, and what will happen if you do not put it right.
- Write to warn you if we decide to issue an Enforcement Notice or start prosecution proceedings against you.
Enforcement appeals - advice
Information on how to make an appeal against an enforcement notice and information on how interested parties can take part in Enforcement Appeals is available on the Planning Inspectorate website. Details of this process will accompany the notice at the time of service. If an appeal is made, the terms of any notice are held in abeyance until such a time as a decision is issued. There is no right of appeal in respect of Breach of Condition Notices.