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When we can take enforcement action against unauthorised developments

Find out when we can take enforcement action against unauthorised developments.

We can take enforcement action against:

  • unauthorised operational development – carrying out building works, for example, construction of buildings or extensions
  • unauthorised material changes of use – changing the use of the building, for example, using a shop as a restaurant
  • breaches of conditions – breaching conditions attached to planning permissions, for example, conditions restricting hours of operation
  • unauthorised works to a listed building that affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest
  • unauthorised total or substantial demolition in a conservation area
  • unauthorised display of advertisements
  • poor condition of private land that is adversely affecting the amenity of an area.

It is a criminal offence to carry out unauthorised works to listed buildings, total or substantial demolition of a building in a conservation area, the unauthorised display of advertisements and unauthorised works to protected trees.

We cannot take enforcement action against:

  • changes of use that fall within the same use class
  • developments granted planning permission under the GPDO (permitted developments) that are, for examples: small residential extensions; satellite dishes; fences and walls; means of access and hard standings; outbuildings, sheds or greenhouses; loft conversions, dormers or roof lights.