Our Compliance team are currently experiencing high levels of demand for their service and are dealing with their highest priorities.
You are strongly advised to check our website horsham.gov.uk or the Planning Portal for the answer to your query first. Only if you cannot find an answer should you contact the Compliance team, in writing, by completing the online Planning Breach Reporting Form. The form can also be downloaded for completion by hand. If you do not have access to our website, paper copies of the form can be obtained from our Reception at the Council Offices or sent out on request.
You will need to include your name and contact details together with relevant evidence such as photographs or completed monitoring forms. An Officer may be in contact with you if they require further information.
Anonymous complaints may not be investigated.
If you are involved in an ongoing complaint, you may send an e mail to email@example.com or contact a Compliance Officer by phoning 01403 215187 between 09:00 and 10:00 or 15:00 and 16:00. Compliance Officers will not be available by phone outside these hours.
In a genuine emergency, such as the unlawful demolition of a Listed Building, you should telephone 01403 215100.
Thank you for bearing with us at this time of high demand.
What is Compliance?
The Council will endeavour to ensure that planning rules are followed - for example, that planning permission has been given for the development and that it is being carried out in accordance with the permission and any conditions imposed on it. If you think someone has broken the rules, contact one of the Council's Planning Compliance Officers. Complaints about alleged breaches of planning control will be treated confidentially within the Council so far as is practicable.
What happens then?
When an alleged breach of planning control is reported or suspected, the site or premises will be inspected and other information sought to establish the facts. If a breach of planning control is identified the person responsible will be told what is wrong and what action is required to remedy the breach. This may involve the submission of a retrospective planning application to authorise the development, if it is acceptable. The fee is the same as for a normal planning application. A time limit will be given and the consequences of not taking the appropriate action will be explained. If the breach of planning control is not remedied within the specified time limit, or is not considered acceptable, the Council will decide whether it is expedient to take enforcement action. The Council can decide not to take enforcement action if it would serve no useful purpose; for example, where unconditional planning permission would be granted in any case.
What if I receive an Enforcement Notice?
If an Enforcement Notice is issued it will specify what works must be carried out and a timescale in which to do it. It is not a criminal offence to carry out development without getting the necessary permission first, except where it involves alterations to a Listed Building, displaying an unauthorised advertisement or carrying out surgery to a preserved tree. Failure, however, to comply with a notice can result in fines of up to £20,000 if you are successfully prosecuted in the Magistrates Court. If you still do not comply with the notice then the Council may carry out work to remedy the breach itself and charge you the cost.
Can I appeal to the Secretary of State against an Enforcement Notice?
You may appeal against the issue of an Enforcement Notice but it must be done as quickly as possible. The Secretary of State must receive your appeal before the date when the notice comes into effect, otherwise he will not be able to consider it.
You cannot appeal against a Breach of Condition Notice. The Council may serve this on you if you do not meet the terms of the permission for your development or if you fail to comply with one of the conditions or limitations of your permission. It is an offence to disobey this type of notice and you may be prosecuted in the Magistrates Court for not complying with its terms.
Enforcement appeals mostly follow the same procedure as ordinary planning appeals, but there are some differences, such as the fact that you will normally have to pay a fee. Costs can also be awarded against an unreasonable party as previously mentioned. The Secretary of State has the power to quash the notice and grant planning permission or uphold it, perhaps with variations in which case you will be required to comply with its requirements.
Further information about your right to appeal against an Enforcement Notice is available on the Planning Portal web site.
There are more details on the powers the Council has to enforce planning law and the Government's guidance on how they should do this, in the Government's Planning Policy Guidance Note 18 Enforcing Planning Control.