A breach of planning control occurs when "development" takes place without the necessary permission. Examples include:
- Carrying out unauthorised building works to a property.
- Changing the use of a property (for example, from a house to a shop) without planning permission.
- Carrying out works to a listed building without listed building consent.
- The displaying of advertisement signs without advertisement consent.
- Felling or pruning of protected trees (trees that are the subject of a Tree Preservation Order or are situated within a Conservation Area, without consent)
A breach can also occur when permission has been granted for a specific development, but the works carried out do not conform to the agreed plans or specified conditions.
When such breaches occur, we are obliged to consider whether action is justified and will take action if necessary. However, if breaches of planning control are not material, or if was not considered to be expedient to act, we may sometimes decide to take no action.
The type of action taken will vary, and will largely depend on the seriousness of the effects of the breach. We have a wide range of powers available under the Town and Country Planning Act. Each case will be treated on its merits and initially a solution will be sought by negotiation. Failure to comply can lead to prosecution and a fine.
Breaches of planning conditions may be reported to the Enforcement Officer on 01325 406489 or emailed to Neil.Foreman@darlington.gov.uk. Alternatively, you can report a breach using our Planning breach report form [pdf document]
When reporting a breach, please supply your contact details. It is likely that we will need to contact you to clarify something or to supply further information. We will also keep you informed of progress and let you know the outcome of the investigation. Your identity will be kept confidential.
Please also supply the following information wherever possible:
- the address or location of the place where the breach is taking place;
- a description of the breach;
- if known, the name and address of the person or organisation responsible.
If appropriate, please include any relevant dates and times of specific incidents. You may supply evidence such as photographs.
All reports we receive of alleged breaches will be investigated and the identities of persons making allegations are never revealed to the parties under investigation.