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Planning enforcement

An example of a breach of planning control; two houses built without planning permission, resulting in the demolition of both properties following planning enforcement action.Merton Council's Planning Enforcement team investigates alleged breaches of planning control.

What is a breach of planning control?

A planning breach occurs when:

  • a development that requires planning permission is undertaken without the permission being granted - either because the planning application was refused or was never applied for
  • a development that has been given permission subject to conditions breaches one or more of those conditions.

Example breaches of planning control

Breaches of planning control are generally not criminal offences, with the exception of:

  • unauthorised works carried out to a listed building
  • displaying unauthorised advertisements
  • carrying out unauthorised works to protected trees.

Additional breaches include:

  • building work, engineering operations, and material changes of use which are carried out without planning permission
  • non-compliance with conditions attached to planning consents
  • developments not carried out in accordance with approved plans
  • failure to comply with a legal agreement attached to a permission or consent.
  • unauthorised demolition within a conservation area
  • failure to comply with the requirements of a planning legal notice

What isn't a breach of planning control?

The following examples are not normally breaches of planning control and it is unlikely that enforcement action can be taken under planning legislation:

  • street parking of commercial vehicles in residential areas
  • sale of vehicles from the highway is dealt with by the District Officers
  • operating a business from home, provided there is no material change of use
  • clearing land of undergrowth, bushes and trees provided they are not subject to a Tree Preservation Order and are not within a Conservation Area or protected by a planning condition.

See also

Contact us

Planning Enforcement
London Borough of Merton
Merton Civic Centre
London Road

Tel: 020 8545 3111

This page was last updated on Tuesday 7 April 2015

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