Planning enforcement

About planning enforcement

Planning enforcement is where we look into complaints about work that might not have planning permission. We are required by law to investigate all reports. Taking action is at our discretion and we can decide what steps we will take.

What we can investigate

Work which involves:

  • the change of use of land or building without permission
  • buildings, extension, fences or walls put up without permission
  • works given approval but are not being done in the way the plans or conditions say it should be
  • advertisements without permission
  • works being carried out on listed buildings
  • works to protected trees

What we cannot investigate

  • we do not enforce minerals and waste development. This is looked after by Kent County Council.
  • boundary disputes
  • unsafe building work on construction sites
  • building problems which relate to building standards
  • private covenants
  • highway issues

We have a detailed list of what we can and cannot investigate and where you need to report it to on our webpage.

Enforcement register

We are required to keep and publish a planning enforcement register which shows details of the following notices:

  • planning enforcement
  • temporary stop
  • stop notices
  • breach of condition

The register contains filters to allow you to search for specific:

  • types of notice
  • effective dates
  • compliance dates
  • addresses

You can complete a simple search to view and download a copy of a notice.

Our previous planning enforcement register is also available.

Report an issue

Before you make your report you should search for the application to see if we have granted permission. You will be able to see any conditions that apply.

We will need to know:

  • your name, address and email address
  • the location
  • the date and times
  • what is happening
  • how it's affecting you
  • names of the people involved, for example the company or contractors


What happens next

We'll investigate the breach then decide whether to take action or not. We will contact you within one working day of our site visit and at any key points during the investigation.

We do not give regular updates unless you have requested them. Cases remain open until a satisfactory outcome has been decided, when it has we will let you know.

Priority one

A visit will usually take place within one working day of receiving the report for the following:

  • unauthorised works causing severe landscape damage
  • works to listed buildings
  • works on protected trees

Priority two

A visit will usually take place within 10 working days of receiving the report for the following:

  • breaches of planning conditions
  • changes of use of land or buildings
  • general building works
  • all other potential breaches

For more information about the two priorities take a look at our Local Enforcement Plan.

Types of action

There are different types of formal action we can take, including serving a:

  • enforcement notice - if the contravener disagrees with it, they can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate before it takes effect. They will decide on your appeal and have the power to grant planning permission for all or part of the development.
  • stop notice - served in addition to an enforcement notice, stops all work being done and still applies even if appealed.
  • temporary stop notice - lasting up to 56 days from the date served and can be served without an enforcement notice.
  • breach of condition notice - served when a planning condition has been breached or with an enforcement notice. It takes effect after 28 days and can only be appealed through the high court.

Research request

If you require written confirmation of the closure of an enforcement case and the reasons for closure or of compliance you can visit our research request webpage.