Concerned about a Planning Breach?



Do you know that a development has been, or is being carried out without planning permission? Or are you aware that conditions attached to a planning decision are not being followed? Are trees in a Conservation area or covered by a Tree Protection Order being cut down illegally?

Let South Hams District Council (our local planning authority) know!

What should I do about a suspected planning breach? How can I refer a problem for action?

First, check if planning permission is required for the work taking place? Is the issue about any of the following?

  • Boundary or ownership disputes
  • Party wall issues
  • Covenant issues.

These are civil matters so please contact Citizens’ Advice or seek legal advice. The Council is not a responsible authority for these matters.

Then, if planning permission is needed, check whether it already exists for the development you wish to report. You can do this on the SHDC website using the Search for a Planning Application page.  For the Council to be able to fully investigate your concerns, they require as much information as possible from you.

If the Council decides to investigate an alleged breach of planning control, it will undertake the following (as appropriate):

  • Record details of all complaints
  • Keep the person who made the complaint (if requested) and any other relevant interested parties informed of progress
  • Assess whether there has been a breach of planning control and whether further investigations are needed or any enforcement powers should be used
  • Collate any additional information required and carry out consultations, site visits or write to people with an interest in the land
  • Invite a retrospective planning application or require the removal or alteration of the breach, if appropriate.



When sending ‘comments’ on a planning application, it is standard practice for the commenter’s name to be published.

When referring complaints for Council Enforcement action, the names of private individuals or companies are kept confidential. Your name will not be disclosed without your knowledge and agreement, unless the Council are legally required to do so.

Follow this link to report a planning breach to SHDC:  Report a Planning Breach

The SHDC  Enforcement Policy [95.39KB] has further information (Appendix 2 for Planning Enforcement).


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