Planning enforcement

Slough's planning enforcement team investigate alleged breaches of planning control as well as the display of unauthorised advertisements and unauthorised works to protected trees and listed buildings. They also investigate breaches of the council's planning policy in Slough's conservation areas and the green belt.

The team follow the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which sets out the government's planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied.

Reporting a possible breach of planning control

How to report a breach of planning control.

What is a breach of planning control?

A breach of planning control could be where somebody develops a site without the planning permission they need or where they are not meeting the terms or conditions of an approved planning permission. Breaches of control can include:

  • building, engineering works or the change of use, without planning permission
  • development not in accordance with the approved drawings on the planning permission
  • unauthorised works to a listed building
  • unauthorised advertisements
  • unauthorised works to a tree which is protected by a tree preservation order or is in a conservation area
  • unauthorised demolition of a building within a conservation area
  • land which has become so untidy that it harms the amenity of the surrounding area.

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

  • unauthorised works to listed buildings
  • display of unauthorised advertisements
  • to carry out unauthorised works to protected trees

The enforcement team will investigate situations where they suspect there is a breach of planning control.

What is not a breach of planning control?

The following examples are not normally considered breaches of planning control and it is likely that enforcement action will not be taken:

  • permitted development (development which has a blanket planning permission granted by the government), see planning portal - permitted development 
  • advertisements displayed in accordance with the advertisement regulations, see planning portal - advertisement regulations
  • boundary disputes, neighbour disputes, landownership and party wall issues
  • minor breach. The council's formal enforcement powers will not be used against a trivial or technical breach of planning control, which causes no harm to the public amenity in the locality of the site.
  • breach of building regulations, see planning portal - building regulations 
  • on street parking of commercial vehicles in residential areas
  • operating a business from home on a low key basis, see planning portal - working from home
  • clearing land of undergrowth, bushes and trees so long as they aren't subject to a tree preservation order and are not within a conservation area, or protected by a planning condition.

Immunity from enforcement action

Immunity from enforcement action arises when the breach is for:

  • residential purposes and has been substantially completed for more than 4 years
  • commercial purpose when the use has occurred for more than 10 years