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Report a breach of planning control

Before reporting a suspected breach

  1. Before reporting a suspected breach, please read our Planning enforcement document

  2. See also Planning Practice Guidance (external website) for detailed information about the enforcement process and action that local planning authorities (such as Buckinghamshire Council) can take

Information we need

 When making a report you must provide:

  • the address or site location
  • as much information as you have about the issue you want to report
  • a contact name, postal address and daytime telephone number - please note we cannot investigate anonymous reports

Report a breach

Confidentiality and data protection

We will not disclose the name and address or contact details of anyone making a complaint.

What happens now?

Once a report is made, we will investigate the alleged breach and acknowledge the receipt of your enquiry within four working days. If necessary, we may ask you for further information and any evidence you have. If necessary, we will make a site visit. We will check the site planning history.  If the enquiry does constitute a breach of planning control, we will invite the owner to rectify the breach.

In order to do this we will either seek the removal or cessation of the unauthorised development or use, or invite a retrospective planning application to be submitted. If the breach is not rectified, we may take further action, if it is in the public’s interest to do so.

Please note that enforcement action is discretionary, by law; we can only pursue formal enforcement action where it appears that:

  • there is a breach of planning control
  • it is expedient to issue the notice having regards to the provisions of the development plan and to any other material considerations

Enforcement investigations can take a considerable amount of time and they may not be resolved quickly. If we take formal action, it can take several months or even years to resolve complex cases.

Taking formal action

We will start formal action when negotiations to resolve a complaint have failed. We will then serve legal notices requiring the breach of planning control to be resolved.

If the owner does not comply with legal notices we serve, we can take court action. This could result in a significant fine. In most cases, there is a right of appeal against the legal notices that we serve.

Contact information

Planning and building control opening hours and contact information