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Investigating complaints

Most breaches of planning control are reported by members of the public. Normally we acknowledge a complaint within 3 working days of receiving it.

How we investigate

Our planning officers set conditions and then monitor to make sure the developer complies with them. They pass details to planning enforcement officers if development work does not comply with planning conditions.

We always make sure development work:

  • has the necessary planning permission
  • complies with any conditions that were set when permission was granted

When we investigate

We will investigate complaints where it's clear to us that a serious planning breach has occurred.

We will not normally investigate a complaint if it is made either:

  • anonymously
  • without sufficient evidence, seemingly with a sole aim to cause annoyance

Complaints that relate to breaches on council-owned land and the public highway will be dealt with by whichever council department owns the land. Generally a breach can be resolved more quickly using land-ownership powers rather than planning powers.

Your confidentiality

If you make a complaint:

  • your complaint will be treated in confidence
  • you will be treated as a 'protected informant' during our investigation, which means we will not reveal your identity unless directed to do so by a court – this is to make sure you are safe from any possible recrimination by the person complained about.

If formal action needs to be taken, we would have to provide evidence of the breach and any its harmful effects, so your co-operation and involvement as witnesses may be important in getting a successful outcome.