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What Is A Breach?

A breach is when the planning rules are broken. Normally this is because new buildings are put up or the use of land is changed without planning permission. Common breaches are:

  • Changes of use of land or buildings; e.g. from a house to a shop
  • Putting up buildings without permission; e.g. stables and garden sheds
  • Extending buildings without permission
  • Carrying out development not in accordance with the approved plan
  • Not complying with the conditions of a planning permission

Not all new buildings or extensions need planning permission from the council as many are permitted by national legislation (for example the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015 (as amended). More information about what this national legislation allows is available on the Planning Portal.

Criminal breaches

It is a misconception that a breach of planning control is breaking the law. However, the following works do represent a criminal offence:

  • Carrying out works to a listed building without listed building consent
  • Displaying certain signs or advertisements without advertisement consent
  • Felling or carrying out works to a protected tree without consent

What is not a breach of planning control

This list has a few examples of activities which are not breaches of planning control. Enforcement action under the planning rules cannot be taken against them but other legislation may be able to resolve them:

  • Parking of commercial vehicles on the highway in residential areas or on grass verges
  • Using one room in a house to run your business, as long as employees or customers do not come to the house
  • Storing a caravan on the drive or in the garden of the house – planning permission will be needed if it is lived in completely independent of the main dwelling
  • Clearing land of undergrowth, bushes and trees provided they are not protected trees
  • Land ownership and boundary disputes

Report a breach

If you wish to report a planning breach, please complete our report a planning breach form which will reach us more quickly and save paper.