Enforcement Protocol 2017



The purpose of this document is to set out the Council’s approach to dealing with Planning Enforcement.

Planning Enforcement operates within the legislative framework of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) and all its subordinate and associated legislation. This includes the National Planning Policy Framework and the Planning Practice Guidance. Any enforcement action that may be taken by the Council must be consistent with national and local planning policy.

Breaches of planning control

A breach of planning control is the carrying out of development without Planning Permission being granted. The carrying out of development not in accordance with approved plans or the conditions on any planning permission is also a breach.

Unlike the breaches identified above, unauthorised works to Listed Buildings, substantial demolition in a Conservation Area, unauthorised works to protected trees and unauthorised advertisements are criminal offences.

The Objective of Planning Enforcement

The purpose of Planning Enforcement is to remedy harm to public amenity arising from unauthorised development and to ensure that the objectives of the planning system are not undermined. It is not the case that Planning Enforcement exists to ‘punish’ people who are responsible for a breach of planning control. Any action taken by the Council has to be expedient and proportionate to the breach in question.

What can/can’t the Planning Enforcement Team investigate?

What Planning Enforcement can investigate What Planning Enforcement can’t investigate
Development consisting the change of use of land/buildings without planning consent Boundary wall disputes and other land ownership issues
Works to Listed Buildings without consent Legal covenants
Any activity giving rise to direct or indirect damage to protected trees or qualifying trees in conservations areas* Devaluation of property
Unauthorised building works and/or engineering works Graffiti**
Neglect to land or buildings which harm local amenity Anti-social behaviour**
Display of unlawful advertisements Unsafe Structures**

* Trees over 75mm in diameter measured at a height of 1.5 metres from ground level are protected.

** The Local Authority may be able to deal with these matters using other powers under non- planning legislation.

How to report a potential breach of planning control

Online - The simplest way to report a potential breach of planning control is by completing an online planning enforcement form.

Email - You can report a potential planning problem by emailing us. You can send in information, photographs or other attachments. Please submit full details of your concerns along with your name, address and contact number to planning@bassetlaw.gov.uk.

Post - Post You can post details of a potential planning breach (using this method will mean it will take longer for the information to reach the planning enforcement team).

Letters must be sent to Planning Enforcement Officer, Bassetlaw District Council, Queens Buildings, Potter Street, Worksop, S80 2AH. A complainant’s details will be kept confidential unless a request is made from the Police as part of an investigation.

All enforcement enquiries must include: 

  • Date
  • Your name and postal address
  • The address of the potential breach
  • What work / activities are taking place
  • When activities or building works started
  • Names and contact details of the owners or other people involved

Please note: Anonymous enforcement enquiries will not be investigated.

Priorities for dealing with enforcement cases

Planning enforcement cases are investigated based on our priority system. The table below shows what level of priority is given to a type of issue.

  • Level 1 Complaints: Where works are being carried out which will cause irreparable harm/ damage.
  • Level 2 Complaints: Where works or uses are causing significant harm to amenity or safety hazards and time sensitive breaches.
  • Level 3 Complaints:  Development having a limited degree of impact on local residents’ amenity or limited damage to the environment or which do not fall within either of the other categories.
Enforcement Priorities Priority Level
Uses/operations which result in significant harm to public health and contrary to Local Development Framework Policies 1
Proposals which result in loss of family housing or provision of low quality housing 1
Unauthorised works to Listed Buildings 1
Direct/indirect damage or unauthorised works to TPO trees 1
Unauthorised works or damage to trees in a Conservation Area 1
Uses/operations which result in harm to the character of a local area and/or residential amenity 2
Breaches of planning conditions 2
Non-compliance with planning conditions relating to the protection of trees and provision of soft landscaping (including replacement planting), untidy gardens/rubbish) 2
Unauthorised advertising 3
High hedge complaints 3

How a reported breach is handled

  1. File created, research undertaken which includes checking ownership, planning history and contact with owner
  2. Carry out a site visit based on priority above
  3. Determine whether a breach of planning control has taken place. If a breach, 3 options available:
    • Negotiate to resolve
    • Invite a retrospective application
    • Determine expediency on whether to take enforcement action. This is based on the relevant planning policies and the impact of the breach. Sometimes it is not expedient to take enforcement action if the impacts are minimal.

If a retrospective application has not been invited but one has been submitted, in most circumstances, the Council must accept the application. Any retrospective application will be assessed as any other planning application. In some cases, there is no alternative but to take enforcement action.

Where an application has been invited but not received within the time requested, it will be determined whether it is expedient to take any action.

Keeping the Complainant Informed

All reports of planning breaches are taken seriously and we will keep you informed of progress at each stage of the investigation.

Please note that some investigations can take some time so you may not hear from the planning enforcement team on a regular basis.

If a planning application is received following the invitation to the developer to submit, all interested parties will be informed and invited to make comments on the application.

Last Updated on Monday, March 21, 2022