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East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Enforcement process and unauthorised development

This page provides guidance on unauthorised development in terms of development which appears to be taking place without permission or that is not being carried out in accordance with conditions imposed by planning permission.

What is unauthorised development?

Common types of cases reported as potential unauthorised development in the East Riding include:

  • residential developments/extensions;  

  • breaches of planning conditions (e.g. hours of operation, noise levels generated etc.);

  • commercial developments (unauthorised shops/offices/industrial operations);

  • unauthorised changes of use;

  • land uses adversely affecting amenity;

  • fly-posting;

  • unauthorised advertisements;

  • unauthorised structures (new buildings and extensions)


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How the Enforcement Team deal with reports of unauthorised development

Many complaints are received each day by the Council about development or uses of land/buildings which appear to be taking place without valid permissions, or are not in accordance with conditions imposed or approved plans.

The Enforcement Team will deal with unauthorised development in accordance with its policies to ensure the protection of residential and visual amenity and the environment of the East Riding. We will also maintain strict confidence in our dealings with the complainant when provided with information as part of an enforcement process. We will ensure that both the person carrying out the development and objectors are dealt with fairly. We will endeavour to resolve as many cases as possible by negotiation without recourse to costly and time consuming formal enforcement action.

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After an enquiry is received

Once an enquiry has been received it is then necessary to consider the following:

  • has a breach of planning control taken place?

  • If an application has been submitted would it have been refused?

  • If an application had been submitted would it have been approved with conditions?

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The Process of Enforcement

When a complaint or enquiry is received the council aims to respond within key time periods. The council aim to acknowledge a complaint or enquiry within 2 working days of receiving it and we aim to visit the site within 6 working days. We also aim to keep the complainant informed of investigation progress at appropriate intervals, including when a formal notice is served and when there is an outcome of the investigation.

Enforcement Process
Figure 1: Enforcement Process

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Clarifying misconceptions

Is it an offence to carry out development work without obtaining planning permission?

It is not an offence to carry out development without first obtaining planning permission. It only becomes an offence if there is failure to comply with enforcement action undertaken by the council (see footnote below)

How quick can enforcement action remedy an unauthorised development?

Enforcement action is rarely an instantaneous remedy to unauthorised development as it is limited in use and open to appeals and claims for compensation

Can enforcement action remedy matters outside of planning control?

Enforcement action cannot be used to remedy matters outside planning control where other remedies exist, for example, licencing

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If negotiation fails, what other action is considered?

Where negotiation fails to resolve a breach of planning control formal enforcement action will be considered. This action could include the service of the following notices or legal actions:

  • A Planning Contravention Notice (formal notice requiring information) 
  • An Enforcement Notice 
  • A Breach of Condition Notice
  • A Stop Notice
  • A Wasteland Notice
  • Obtaining an Enforcement Injunction
  • Default action to secure compliance with an enforcement notice
  • Prosecution

Enforcement action of any kind is not mandatory and is at the discretion of the local planning authority.

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Have you got permission?

Development is defined as:

The carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations is, on, over or under land or the material change in the use of any building or other land.

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The above notes relate primarily to development carried out without planning permission. Works carried out in breach of other controls may constitute an immediate offence e.g. 

  • Display of advertisements
  • Alterations to listed buildings
  • Damage to trees covered by a tree preservation order or within a conservation area 
  • Demolition within a conservation area

The Council is equally committed to securing compliance with these requirements.

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Guidance revised 30.01.15