Types of development
Development may consist of building works, engineering operations, or the use of land or buildings. Whenever development occurs it will be either:
authorised (development which has the necessary consent);
unauthorised (development which does not have the necessary consent);
permitted development (development which for which consent is automatically given).
The action which can be taken by the Council is restricted depending on the status of development.
What is a breach of planning control?
All unauthorised development is a breach of planning control. The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 defines a breach as “the carrying out of a development without the required planning permission, or failing to comply with any condition or limitation subject to which planning permission has been granted”
Breaches of Planning Control may include:
Carrying out development (construction) without planning permission.
For example: constructing an extension which is not permitted development; erecting a fence over 2 metres (or 1 metre by a highway) or installing security shutters to a shop.
Carrying out development (change of use) without planning permission.
For example: conducting a business such as the sale of cars from home; converting an office to a shop; converting a family house to bedsits.
Failing to comply with a planning condition (breach of condition).
For example: failing to implement a landscaping scheme; operating a shop outside agreed hours.
Carrying out unauthorised works to a listed building.
For example: installing uPVC double glazing without listed building consent
Displaying an advertisement without consent.
For example: installing an illuminated advertisement or poster hoarding.
Untidy land or cases of dereliction.
If any work is carried out requiring planning permission, listed building consent, conservation area consent or work to a tree in a conservation area or covered by a tree preservation order without the necessary permission, the Council has the power to serve a variety of notices. (see types of enforcement notices below).
Not all development requires planning permission, it may fall within the limits of permitted development and these exemptions are laid down in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995. A guide for householders on permitted development will give you information about what categories of development benefit from permitted development. Different permitted development allowances are available for business premises and advertisements.
What if I have carried out development without Planning Permission?
We realise that in many cases unauthorised developments and advertisements are accidental or come about through an understandable lack of knowledge of the planning laws. It should also be realised that a breach of planning / development control is not a criminal offence, unless it is an unauthorised advertisement or works to a listed building or structure.
In accordance with national guidance, at Dudley Council we consider that many minor breaches of planning control can be resolved through negotiation and persuasion without the need for formal enforcement action. If a breach is found to have occurred then the person(s) responsible have the right to apply for retrospective planning permission . Where it is clear that a breach of planning control has taken place we often invite a planning application. This has the advantage of allowing us to get full details of the work that has taken place and consult neighbours before making a decision. It may also be possible to make amendments or impose conditions which overcome the concerns of neighbours. Once an application has been submitted it will be treated on merit like any other application. You may wish to contact the Development Control team for further guidance.
If the development involves a breach of planning control, such as an unauthorised development or a failure to comply with planning conditions, we have the option to take enforcement action. An enforcement notice is used as a last resort, but this should not be taken as condoning a wilful breach of planning law.
It is the Council's decision whether to take action and what sort of action to take - enforcement action may take the form of enforcement notices, (temporary) stop notices, Breach of Condition Notices, planning contravention notices, or High Court or county court injunctions. Further information about the types of enforcement notices used by the Council are available below.
If land or buildings have been in use for a certain period of time without planning permission then a certificate of lawfulnessmay be applied for, meaning the land or building becomes immune from enforcement action.
What the planning enforcement team do not do?
Please note that the Planning Enforcement Team does not investigate;
Making a complaint
If you are concerned about something which you suspect involves a breach of planning control you can report it for investigation by clicking the planning enforcement complaint form link below, writing to us direct or submitting through our online system.
In order to progress the matter the following details must be provided:
When completing the online form / letter please provide the following information:
- The property address or area of land where the breach has occurred;
- What has occurred?
- If the Complaint relates to an activity please give details of how often the activity occurs and/or dates and times it has been observed
- When did the activity or building work start (if possible please provide dated photographs and other forms of evidence that you consider may be helpful.)?
- Describe the harm caused by this complaint?
- Any details of the person involved with the complaint (if known)
- Your Contact details, including name, address, telephone number and e-mail address (if you have one).
Once this form has been completed you should send it to Planning Enforcement. Upon receipt of the form a formal complaint will be logged and you will receive an acknowledgement which will include an case reference number. If you would like to know more about how this is done, or the process it is explained in the enforcement process.
- All complaints will be treated in the strictest confidence.
- Anonymous complaints will not be dealt with where this is not in the wider public interest.