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 below.
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 protected tree in a conservation area or covered by a Tree Preservation Order
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.
Parking Services - on street parking problems or Police for parking causing a hazard.
Regulatory Services - Builders working unusual or unsocial hours.
Regulatory Services for Noise & disturbances. HSE for Health & Safety concerns on Building Sites.
Citizens Advice (or independent legal advice) for Neighbourhood, land boundary or ownership disputes.
Party Wall Act 1996 for any works to party walls.
Regulatory Services High hedges – See also Problems with your neighbour's high hedges.
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). If your enquiry relates to an outbuilding, please refer to our Advice on Outbuildings page for more information.
Has it got permission? You can check this on our website by using our Planning Applications Search facility or our District Mapping Service.
Making a complaint Toggle accordion
Please be aware that we do not accept anonymous complaints unless in they relate to criminal activity in connection with Listed Buildings, Tree Preservation Orders or trees in conservation areas.
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 report a planning breach online, please use the report button below. 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.
An unauthorised encampment is where any person camps (in vans, trailers or any other moveable accommodation) on land that they do not own, and/or where they do not have permission to reside. For details on how to report these, please see our web page Unauthorised Encampments.