The Council will only take such action where it is proportionate and appropriate to do so in the public interest, for example when planning permission would have been refused.
The Enforcement Plan
The Enforcement Plan below sets out how the Council will investigate and tackle reported breaches of planning control in a consistent, fair and proportionate way.
A short leaflet summarising the Planning Enforcement Process can be found here:
Extended Retail Opening Hours for Christmas and January
In line with a recent statement from central government retailers are now able to extend their daily opening hours from Monday to Saturday in the run up to Christmas and through January. Planning rules limiting opening hours are therefore eased for this temporary period where conditions restricting businesses are in place.
Government to extend planning permission deadlines
Planning permission usually expires after three years from the date shown on the decision notice if work has not started on site. Sites with consent that have an expiry date between 23 March 2020 and the 31 December 2020 will now see their consent extended to 1 April 2021. This is in response to the Covid-19 pandemic which may have preventing building works from starting as planned.
Food retailer delivery hours
The government has extended delivery hours for supermarkets and other food retailers to support the industry response to the coronavirus.
Planning enforcement will not therefore be enforcing delivery times restricted by condition on planning permissions.
May 15 2020: Covid-19:
UPDATE on Permitted Working hours on Construction & Building Sites
Following advice from Central Government, changes are being made nationwide to construction and building site working hours. These changes were introduced by the Government in an effort to get the economy moving again as the Covid-19 lockdown eases.
The changes in working hours on construction sites in residential areas are:
7:30am to 9:00pm Monday to Saturday (instead of 7:30am to 6:00pm), while in other non-residential areas, 24- hour working can be requested by the developer or builder to the Council’s planning department.
Working restrictions on Sunday’s and Bank Holidays remain unchanged under the new guidance. No construction or building works should take place on these days.
The St Albans City and District Council’s planning department cannot refuse applications for extensions to working hours, or to amend existing working hours permitted under a valid planning permission, unless there is a compelling reason to do so.
The Council’s Environmental Health Officers will continue to investigate nuisance complaints and take appropriate action where necessary.
Builders will be expected to be sensitive to local concerns and reduce the impact of any work by, for example, keeping noise, dust and vibration to a minimum.
Enforcement Notices in this District from 2008 onwards are published on our website. Those quashed or allowed at appeal have been removed.
What is a breach of planning control? Toggle accordion
A breach of planning control is:
carrying out development without the required planning permission, or
failing to comply with any condition or limitation subject to which planning permission has been granted.
What we can investigate Toggle accordion
We investigate breaches of planning control that are brought to our attention, including from Council officers, members of the public, councillors, consultees etc. We can only investigate when a breach has taken place (rather than before it has happened).
Breaches that will be investigated are:
Breaches of conditions or approved plans
Breaches of permitted development
Unauthorised use of land or buildings, including traveller encampments (see below)
Unauthorised works to a listed building or display of an advert
Matters investigated by others Toggle accordion
Hertfordshire Highways - Damage to grass verges and pavements, roads, footpaths or other highway matters such as street lighting and dropped kerbs.
Regulatory Services - Builders working unusual or unsocial hours.
Citizens Advice (or independent legal advice) for Neighbourhood, land boundary or ownership disputes.
Party Wall Act 1996 for any works to party walls.
Building Control for Dangerous structures.
VOSA for Goods Vehicle Operators Licenses.
Hertfordshire County Council for Works relating to Minerals and waste.
Before making a complaint Toggle accordion
Things to check before making a complaint about a possible planning breach:
Does it need permission? There are many forms of development that are permitted under Government legislation and do not require planning permission (permitted development).
Making a complaint Toggle accordion
You can contact your local ward councillor should you wish to raise an enforcement issue anonymously. To process your complaints we will require your name, address, telephone and email address if you have one, as this will help us to keep you informed about progress. For information on how we will process this information, please read our Privacy Notice.
To make a complaint please email firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone us on 01727 866100 or click here to submit an online complaint. You must supply contact details to ensure your complaint is registered.
To report unauthorised traveller incursions during evenings, weekends and bank holidays you can call our out-of-hours number 01727 811155.
What happens after I make a complaint? Toggle accordion
Unauthorised works to protected trees or listed buildings will be prioritised. When demand for investigations is high, alleged breaches with low impact and advertisements will take longer.
When we have all the information needed, we will let you know who will be investigating.
The site will be visited and information collected (within 2 weeks).
If a breach is identified the person responsible will be informed. We advise them what action is required to remedy the breach (usually within 1 month of the visit).
It can take several weeks whilst we investigate, contact the landowner, negotiate, decide whether the development requires planning permission and whether permission might be granted. Some breaches need us to monitor the situation over a number of months requiring several visits.
Sometimes, we ask for the complaint to be regularised by submitting a planning application. We give a month for this to be sent to us. Once received, new applications can be seen on our website within 2 weeks. These planning applications are then processed and considered in the same way as an application where not work has not started.
We update the complainant when a major change in the investigation occurs. Usually, this is the submission of a planning application, we decide not to take action or serve a notice (usually 4-6 months from first complaint).
Many investigations take 6 months to reach a conclusion with some taking longer.