Investigating complaints is often complex and time consuming so we need to prioritise.
We will investigate all complaints and allegations of breaches of planning control according to the seriousness of any harm they may cause to areas or matters subject to planning control.
We will give priority to unauthorised works to listed buildings, protected trees or the unauthorised displays of advertisements. These are all criminal offences and could result in prosecution in the courts.
Note: during investigation of a complaint, the priority may change or additional breaches may be uncovered.
These are the most serious cases and those which cause immediate and potentially irreparable harm to the locality. They may involve immediate issue of formal notices, for example, for the serious and unsympathetic alteration to, or demolition of, a listed building, building works or uses that cause serious harm to local residents due to noise and disturbance at unsociable hours, or increased traffic danger and nuisance.
High priority complaints will be given immediate attention, with a site visit conducted within five working days. Where necessary, staff from other disciplines such as Environmental Health and Building Control will be called upon to attend on site to help assess the extent of any harm.
Stop Notices and Injunctions may be considered and failure to comply could result in prosecution, possible fine and imprisonment of offenders.
These are developments which cause some demonstrable harm to the locality, but immediate remedial action is not considered necessary, for example, large domestic extensions, use of agricultural buildings or dwellings for business purposes, or certain breaches of planning conditions relating to building operations or tree protection on construction sites.
A site visit will be conducted within 14 days and a solution will normally be sought through contact and negotiation with the parties responsible, within 10 working days of the complaint being first received. Retrospective applications will be sought where appropriate but it may be necessary to resort to Temporary Stop, Enforcement, Planning Contravention or Breach of Condition Notices.
Failure to comply with any of these Notices may result in criminal prosecution and possible fines.
These are developments which are either minor planning infringements that cause little or no harm to the locality or nuisance to nearby local residents, for example, the erection of fences or outbuildings within domestic gardens that are marginally above permitted development tolerances or minor variations from approved plans. These will be investigated within 21 working days or as soon as other work permits. Again solutions will be sought wherever possible by inviting a retrospective planning application or appropriate negotiation.
No action required
These are concerns or complaints received which do not fall into the development management sphere.