Planning Enforcement Policy

The introduction of the National Planning Policy framework (NPPF) has replaced Planning Policy Guidance Document 18 (PPG18), which previously set out the basics for dealing with planning enforcement decisions and provided the consideration of expediency.

The NPPF states “Local planning authorities should consider publishing a local enforcement plan to manage enforcement proactively, in a way that is appropriate to their area. This should set out how they will monitor the implementation of planning permissions, investigate alleged cases of unauthorised development and take action where it is appropriate to do so”.

The Planning Enforcement Service links directly with the council’s Development Control Service which is responsible for the consideration of applications for planning permission and advertisement consent. 

The council has drafted a Planning Enforcement policy covering these issues which is now out for consultation. To view or download the policy click here

This Planning Enforcement Policy provides guidance, for Officers and all other users of the service, on the way decisions are made and the options for action that are available to the service to achieve compliance with planning control. 

Key issues are highlighted below.

The policy will clearly set out the role of the planning enforcement service and the detailed basis for sound and consistent decision making.   Much of this is covered in existing Council policies which are brought together in the proposed enforcement policy.  These are shown in black text while areas it is proposed to change are shown in red text.

Despite the requirement for a local enforcement plan, the service still has to act in accord with primary and secondary legislation that has not been repealed.  This limits the number of areas in which Council can change policies.  Areas where this is particularly important include the following:

  • While the planning Enforcement service seeks to ensure compliance with planning controls, including the planning decisions made by the Development Control Service, it has to balance the needs of a variety of interested parties including local residents, developers; and businesses. 
  • Enforcement action should not be taken against developments that it is anticipated would receive planning permission if an application were made.  Instead enforcement action is delayed to enable the developer to seek planning permission.
  • Decisions on whether to take action have to be based on a nationally defined expediency test.

The Council receives approximately 1100 planning enforcement complaints each year, and has a statutory duty to ensure that these complaints are investigated and appropriate action taken. Inevitably this does mean that action has to be prioritised, with those areas that cause the most harm addressed most urgently.

The proposed policy set out service standards and processes for proactively monitoring compliance of approved planning applications as they are being constructed. The consistency and regularity of this approach is a new development for the Council.

The Enforcement Policy does not affect the discretion of the Council to take formal action, including legal proceedings where this is considered to be in the public interest.

A flow-chart of the process followed in resolving breaches of planning is also available.  This does not represent the full breadth of work carried out, but does show the main actions and decision points.

Comment on the proposed policy

We would welcome comments on the proposed policy from any interested parties.

To tell us your views you can:


Write to: FREEPOST RRZE-CTRG-TJLJ, South Gloucestershire Council, Planning EnforcementConsultation, Council Offices,Castle Street, Thornbury,Bristol,BS35 1HF

Phone: 01454 868004

The closing date for comments is: 14th December 2012

Following this consultation period, the results of the consultation and a revised policy will be presented to the Communities Committee for adoption on 2nd January 2013.


This consultation has now closed and we are analysing the results, which will be published here in due course.


  • Opened
    20 Sep 2012 at 00:00
  • Closed
    14 Dec 2012 at 23:59


Consultation Topic
  • Planning policy & strategy
Geographical area
  • Almondsbury
  • Bitton
  • Boyd Valley
  • Bradley Stoke Central and Stoke Lodge
  • Bradley Stoke North
  • Bradley Stoke South
  • Charfield
  • Chipping Sodbury
  • Cotswold Edge
  • Dodington
  • Downend
  • Emersons Green
  • Filton
  • Frampton Cotterell
  • Frenchay and Stoke Park
  • Hanham
  • Kings Chase
  • Ladden Brook
  • Longwell Green
  • Oldland Common
  • Parkwall
  • Patchway
  • Pilning and Severn Beach
  • Rodway
  • Severn
  • Siston
  • Staple Hill
  • Stoke Gifford
  • Thornbury North
  • Thornbury South and Alveston
  • Westerleigh
  • Winterbourne
  • Woodstock
  • Yate Central
  • Yate North
Marking a consultation as relevant to a particular audience indicates that it may be of special relevance to people within that group. It doesn't, however, mean that other groups wont find the consultation of interest - we welcome responses from everybody.
For example, education issues may be of particular interest to Parents & Guardians, and so will be shown to people searching the system for parenting issues, but the views of others (eg: Business, Faith Groups) are also relevant.
Target Audience
  • All residents
  • Businesses & employers
  • Councillors / MPs / MEPs
  • Expert stakeholders
  • General public
  • Partner agencies
  • Service users
  • Staff
  • Town and Parish Councils
  • Voluntary and community groups / organisations
Contact Details

If you have any questions, please contact:


Write to: FREEPOST RRZE-CTRG-TJLJ, South Gloucestershire Council, Planning EnforcementConsultation, Council Offices,Castle Street, Thornbury,Bristol,BS35 1HF

Phone: 01454 868004