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Planning Enforcement

The Planning Enforcement team investigates allegations of breaches of planning control.

Please read our COVID-19 and Planning webpage

On this page you will find a copy of the Sedgemoor Planning Service Local Enforcement Plan. This is a key operational document for Development Management and we are interested in your comments.

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What do we do?

The team investigates allegations of breaches of planning control including:

  • unauthorised development, or uses
  • unauthorised works to a listed building - both internal and external works
  • unauthorised display of advertisements
  • non-compliance with conditions of planning permissions
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What is the extent of planning controls?

Planning controls relate to any development. The definition of 'development' for the purposes of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 is considered to include "carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operation in on or under land or the making of a material change of use of any building or other land".

Please note that all mining and waste planning issues are dealt with by Somerset County Council.

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Do you require planning permission for all development?

No, many minor developments are exempt from the need for planning permission by the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995. You should always contact the local planning authority to find out if you need planning permission before commencing any development.

Planning Portal - Do you need permission?

Make a Planning Application

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Is it an offence to undertake development without permission?

No, under the Act it is not considered to be an offence to fail to comply with planning controls, although you are advised to contact the local planning authority prior to carrying out works which might require approval. Should a local planning authority consider it expedient to issue an enforcement notice against a development which is unauthorised then non-compliance with this notice is an offence, for which the maximum fine is £20,000.

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Is it an offence to undertake works to a listed building?

Yes, if these works are considered to affect the character and integrity of the building.

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Is it an offence to display an advertisement without consent?

Some advertisements are exempt from the need for advertisement consent. They are considered to enjoy deemed consent. The display of any advertisements that do not enjoy deemed consent is an offence.

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What happens if a condition of a planning permission is not complied with?

The local planning authority has the power to issue a breach of condition notice against which there is no right of appeal. It is an offence not to comply with such a notice. This offence maybe prosecuted in the magistrates court with a maximum fine of £1,000.

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What information is required for an alleged breach to be investigated?

1. Address of land or building where breach alleged
2. Details of alleged breach
3. Complainant contact name and address
4. Any additional relevant information/other interested parties.

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How do I report an alleged breach?

By completing a Report a possible breach of planning permission form on-line, or by contacting Development Management on the number at the bottom of this page (please note all complaints must be in writing).

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What action is taken where a breach of planning controls is found to be occurring?

Once a complaint has been investigated and a breach identified, depending on the severity of the breach a number of things may happen:

  • a satisfactory solution is negotiated
  • a retrospective planning application is sought
  • if no application is forthcoming or the breach is serious then an enforcement notice may be issued

In the case where significant harm is being caused by the breach it may be appropriate to issue a stop notice in conjunction with an enforcement notice or seek a legal injunction to stop the unauthorised activities.

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Is there a period after which development becomes immune to enforcement action?

Yes, the period within which planning enforcement action can be taken is limited to:

  • 4 years for built development and change of use to self contained dwellings
  • 10 years for all other changes of use and breaches of conditions

If you wish to confirm that development is immune from planning enforcement action, you are advised to make an application for a Certificate of Lawfulness.

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Is there an Enforcement Notices Register?

Yes - it can be accessed via link Enforcement Notices Register

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Do you require further information about Planning Enforcement?

If you do, please view the attached Development Control Icon for pdf Planning Enforcement Policy [1014.73KB] and the Icon for pdf Appendix 1(B) Information and Guidance relating to holiday accommodation [544.36KB].

You may also find answers to your questions on the Planning Portal - Do you need permission? page.

pdf Planning Enforcement Policy [1014.73KB] pdf Appendix 1(B) Information and Guidance relating to holiday accommodation [544.36KB] pdf Planning Enforcement FAQ [299.8KB] pdf Appeal against an Enforcement Notice [381.26KB] arrowPlanning Portal arrowPlanning Portal - Do you need permission? arrowPlanning Portal Interactive House