As the local Planning Authority, we have a duty to ensure developments are in line with the latest planning guidance and regulations and the details of any planning permission we have granted.
We will look into all reports of breaches of planning control and where it is confirmed, assess the level of planning harm to determine our next steps. This is so we can prioritise and intervene more quickly on cases that are causing or have the potential to cause significant planning harm.
Our approach is to work positively and constructively with anyone responsible for a breach and where the development is causing significant planning harm, agree reasonable remedial options. It is not to punish everyone that carries out inappropriate or unauthorised work.
We are grateful to those who report potential breaches as it helps us in our role to protect the district from planning harm, though it’s important to note that all investigations are carried out on behalf of the district council, rather than those reporting them or any third parties.
What we will do and not do
We will investigate breaches of planning control in a timely manner and take effective action in the public interest where unacceptable planning harm is identified.
- We carry out our investigations on behalf of the council, not on behalf of the those reporting a breach or any third parties – who we are very grateful to for being our eyes and ears on the ground.
- Formal enforcement action is at our discretion.
- We cannot accept anonymous information directly. Anyone wishing to report a suspected breach and remain anonymous needs to approach their local district councillor or parish council representatives to do this on their behalf.
- For data protection reasons, we cannot provide updates on ongoing cases, even to those reporting suspected breaches.
- Unless a suspected breach relates to a listed building, we can only consider taking action against building work that has taken place in the last four years.
- We cannot take formal action against the following if they’ve been in place for more than 10 years:
- Material changes of the use of land
- Breaches of planning conditions
- New dwellings built without planning permission
- We cannot get involved in neighbour disputes
We don’t investigate:
- Parking on the highway
- Boundary disputes including trespass
- Deeds and covenants
- Health and safety issues
- Clearing of vegetation from land
Our Enforcement Statement describes how we carry out our investigations:
Enforcement Notices Register
To search for Enforcement Notices, Enforcement Orders, Breach of Condition Notices and Stop Notices (including Temporary Stop Notices) served by the council please click here
Before making an allegation
- Please read the Enforcement Statement
- Check the council’s Planning Permission Register (links below) to see if planning permission has recently been granted for the development.
- Have all the details needed to hand – location including the address and postcode or grid references, nature and scale of alleged breach.
- Read our privacy statement to understand how we will process and protect people’s personal data.
Bear in mind that investigations are on behalf of the district council and not those reporting alleged breaches.
To report a suspected breach of planning control, please go to our reporting page:
Links to legislation and further information
- Planning Portal
- National Planning Policy Framework – paragraph 59 Section 4 Decision-making
- Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended)
- Permitted Development for Householders – Technical Guidance
- Planning Portal interactive house visual guide to Permitted Development
- Enforcement and Post Decision Matters
- Oxfordshire County Council – Fix My Street
The Enforcement Team will conduct investigations in line with the Enforcement Statement.
- We will acknowledge all reports of alleged breaches of planning control within two working days.
- We will prioritise the cases with the potential to cause the most planning harm.
- We will aim to complete our investigations and decide on what action to take within six weeks of a case being considered, in 80 per cent of our cases.
- We will notify those reporting suspected breaches of the outcome of the investigation in writing once it has been concluded.