Planning compliance and enforcement
The Planning Compliance and Enforcement Team investigate alleged breaches of planning control, taking enforcement action where appropriate.
The aim of the service is to remedy planning harm being caused by breaches of planning control. Not every new building or change of use needs planning permission from the council. Central Government lists a number of classes of development which, subject to certain conditions, can be carried out as 'permitted development' for single dwelling houses and some kind of commercial and industrial uses. Where permission is not required, or where planning legislation permits the works, we will not be able to take enforcement action.
Planning enforcement is an important part of the planning process in protecting the environment. Whilst it is not always a criminal offence to carry out development without planning permission it may still constitute a contravention of planning laws and the council has the power to enforce those laws. Planning law can be very complicated and so this information is only a guide to the enforcement procedures and the powers of the council.
The team investigate breaches relating to:
- Developments not being undertaken in accordance with the planning permission;
- Construction work being undertaken without the necessary planning permission;
- where the use of a building or site is changed without planning permission;
- Works being undertaken to protected trees;
- Land or buildings in a very poor condition which are seriously affecting the amenity of the surrounding area
- Building work or alterations to listed buildings or works which will affect the setting of a Listed Building with listed building consent
- Advertisements being displayed without the necessary consent
Complete our online form to report an alleged breach.
We do not investigate:
- Neighbour disputes which are civil in nature such as boundary disputes. Please consider contacting Citizens Advice and/or a solicitor
- Land boundaries or land ownership disputes. Please consult with your solicitor and check ownership on GOV.UK's land registry page
- Works to party walls. View GOV.UK's party wall guidance and advice
- Smells, noise and pollution, (these are dealt with by our Environmental Health Team)
- Fly-tipping. Report fly tipping on public land
- Use or development on highways or pavements, including obstruction of the highways or parking vehicles on the highway
- Dangerous structures
- Breaches of a covenant attached to deeds and land titles Please consult with your solicitor and check ownership on GOV.UK's land registry page
The planning enforcement process can often be lengthy and involve complex legal and planning issues. Not all matters can be addressed immediately, so an instant response cannot be guaranteed. The council has an adopted enforcement plan which sets out how enforcement cases are processed and assessed. View an overview of how the enforcement system within Buckinghamshire works.
The Enforcement Register contains copies of Planning Enforcement Notices issued since 1982. The valid enforcement notices are available for public viewing on the Public Access webpage.
If you wish to obtain a copy of an Enforcement Notice, there is a charge of £20. To confirm whether an enforcement notice has been complied with, or request the Council consider withdrawing the enforcement notice view planning enforcement services.