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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 have made some changes to our planning service

Read more about the changes we have made to our service.

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.