Planning enforcement is an important function in the Metropolitan Borough of Dudley. The investigation of breaches of planning control occurs when development is carried out without planning permission or without adhering to development schemes that have been approved by the Council. Without unauthorised development being regulated, serious implications and sometimes harm can sometimes be caused to the way in which people live and work. Carrying out work or changing the use of land and buildings without planning permission could lead to inappropriate development that could cause harm in various ways. For example, it could adversely affect visual amenity, compromise highway safety or cause irreversible damage to the historic or natural environment. Both residents and business alike in the Borough have a right to expect that where there is a breach of planning control, this matter is resolved and dealt with effectively.
In order to safeguard the integrity of the planning system the Enforcement Team is responsible for the investigation and enforcement of breaches of planning control, listed building as well as protecting buildings of historic importance, controlling outdoor advertisements, dealing with untidy land and buildings, and taking action when serious harm is being caused. The Enforcement function will ensure investigations are carried out in accordance with the principles of good enforcement as detailed in the Enforcement Concordat . Please also take time to review the Government’s guidance on planning enforcement. The Council has produced its own Enforcement Policy and Enforcement Charter.
The carrying out of development without planning permission is not a criminal offence and it can take considerable time to remedy a breach of planning control. However, unauthorised work to protected trees and listed buildings, and the display of unauthorised advertisements, do constitute criminal offences, as does failing to resolve an enforcement notice within a specific time.
The Enforcement Team will attempt to resolve breaches of planning control as expediently as possible within the constraints of the existing legislation. Not all breaches of planning control will result in formal action being taken; each case has to be considered on its own merits, having regard to the local and national planning policies and other material considerations.
Matters not investigated
The planning enforcement function will only be possible to investigate alleged breaches of planning control relating to the Town and Country Planning legislation. Raised concerns dealing with specific neighbour disputes or complaints, investigations on land ownership or boundary disputes will not be investigated. In the circumstances where works or activities which relate to regulations controlled by other sections of the Council, or external bodies, then details of the activities will be forwarded on to the relevant regulatory body where this is known, to investigate further.
Does every development need planning permission
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 (as amended).
The Planning Portal website has simple visual guides that outline issues with common household development projects and provides for an illustrated guide and information on permitted development. Further technical guidance on householder development rights is now also available.
Different permitted development allowances are available for business premises and advertisements.
The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes ) Order 1987 (as amended) categories of the uses of land and buildings into different ‘Use Classes’. These provisions also allows certain changes of use of building and land to take place without the need for planning permission If a change of use of a building/land does not fall within the same use class, planning permission is required. If no planning permission is obtained, a breach of planning control will have taken place.
Registering an enforcement complaint enquiry
Please note formal enforcement action can be a long and complex process. It is not an immediate solution to any unauthorised development/activity and in some circumstances there is a right of appeal against the action.
If you wish to make a complaint about a suspected breach of planning control, please be prepared to provide as much information as possible by completing the Planning Enforcement Complaint Form provided below: 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 a case reference number
Planning Enforcement Complaint Form [pdf / 227KB]
For further information on how we deal with enforcement complaints and our service standards, please see our Guide to Planning Enforcement
Issue of Legal Notices
In the event Dudley Council issues a legal notice against a planning breach, the Notice will be registered against a property or land. The Notice will detail the actual planning breach, the reason for formal action, the remedial steps taken to regularise the breach and the time period for compliance. You will be advised of your rights to challenge the notice or to appeal. However, if you face action we strongly advise you to obtain proper legal advice.