Report a Problem | Colchester Borough Council

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Report a Problem

TEST: Article

Report a problem with planning permission.


  • What is a planning breach
  • Report a breach
  • What happens after you have reported a breach

Our Planning Enforcement Team investigate breaches of planning control.

A breach of planning control is defined in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as “the carrying out of a development without the required planning permission, or failing to comply with any condition or limitation subject to which planning permission has been granted”.

We class planning control breaches as:

  • Buildings that are erected, extended or altered without permission
  • Engineering operations which take place without permission
  • Work that is carried out that doesn’t follow previously approved plans
  • Any situation in which planning permission is granted but not complied with
  • An unauthorised change of the use of a building or land (e.g. using a residential property for business)
  • Work on listed buildings without prior Listed Building Consent (LBC)
  • Failure to comply with conditions or terms of a legal agreement attached to permission/consent
  • Demolition in a conserved area
  • Work on protected trees without consent or proper notification
  • Advertising without consent.

We will resolve issues by:

  • Discussing them with developers
  • Serving enforcement notices
  • Taking direction action and resolving the cost
  • Completing legal proceedings.

A breach of planning control is not a criminal offence unless it regards or concerns:

  • Work to listed buildings
  • Protected trees
  • The display of advertisements without the necessary consents.

An offence can also take place if the developer fails to comply with the requirements outlined in an Enforcement Notice that has been sent to them.

Read more on the Government's site

Not all developments will require planning permission

Before reporting a breach, you should check if planning permission has been granted.

The person completing the development is responsible for ensuring that the work is in accordance with the approved plan.

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We don’t cover neighbour disputes, land ownership and boundary disputes, or mineral/waste complaints.

Complaints regarding noise, light, odour, bonfires or pests are investigated by our environmental protection team.

Read more in our Environmental section

To report a planning breach, we require:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Your contact details
  • Details regarding how the development doesn’t comply.

We don’t accept anonymous forms.

We may also contact you if we need further information.

We will keep you updated about the breach. We keep your details confidential.

Report a breach

What happens after a breach is reported?

After we receive your form, or if we suspect something is wrong, the site will be inspected.

If a breach is identified, the person responsible for the breach will be informed, and we will give them advice about how to remedy the breach.

Addressing a breach of planning control without formal enforcement action is often the quickest and most cost effective way of achieving a satisfactory result.

Read more on the Government's site.

If the identified breach is minor and it can be resolved through negotiation or through the developers voluntarily compliance, the land owner will be given a chance to remedy the situation within an agreed time period.

If the breach is serious, and there is no prospect of planning permission being granted and/or the landowner is unwilling to cease or remove it, we will take immediate enforcement action.

It can take several weeks before an officer is able to visit the site as we contact the landowner to decide if the development requires permission, and whether permission might be granted.

View Enforcement Process

Read our Planning Enforcement Policy