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

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 a specific notice type, effective date, compliance date. If you require copies of the notices please email your request to our Planning and Enforcement team.

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.

If your complaint is for one of the following, you need to report it to a different team:

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 once we have made our decision on what action to take.

Priority one

We will visit within one working day when we get the report for the following:

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

Priority two

We will visit within 10 working days when we get 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 you disagree with it, you 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 you appeal it.
  • temporary stop notice - normally last 28 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. 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.