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Luton Borough Council

Planning enforcement service - aims and objectives

Our aim is to carry out our investigations in a helpful and courteous manner, applying the principles of proportionality, consistency and transparency and encouraging negotiation where appropriate.

The key objectives of the service are to:

  • provide an accessible service that maintains public confidence in the planning system
  • provide a service that is both proactive and reactive to remedy the effects of unauthorised development
  • provide a service response that is prioritised according to the harm caused by the breach
  • achieve a reasonable balance between the protection of the public interest  and allowing acceptable development to remain
  • monitor our performance in delivering the service.
Timescales for dealing with complaints
We receive approximately 550 complaints regarding alleged breaches of planning control each year.  Although many of these do not result in formal enforcement action, many require lengthy investigations. 
Therefore, we must give priority to those cases where the greatest harm is caused. Depending on the seriousness of the alleged breach and the availability of resources, the target response times for inspections and initial assessments are set out below.
How we will deal with your complaint
Details of complaints of breaches of planning control will be recorded and each complaint will be allocated a case reference number and an officer will be assigned to investigate.
Site visits will be undertaken and, if it is decided that no breach has taken place, the complainant will be advised of the decision and the file closed. We will explain the reason why action cannot be taken.
If a breach has taken place, a number of options for action are available depending on the nature of the breach involved:
  • negotiation with the individual or business – if it is considered that the breach can be resolved in this way and that a planning application is likely to be approved, we will ask for the submission of  a planning application which will normally be expected to be received within 28 days of the request.  If the breach is unacceptable, then we will advise that the works of the use ceases either immediately in the case of a serious breach or within a given timescale which will be determined in accordance with the nature of the breach involved
  • serve a Planning Contravention Notice or requisition for information within 21 days of the site visit where further information is required to assist in our investigations
  • send warning letters.
If a planning application is received in response to the pursuance of an enforcement complaint, you will be consulted on the planning application and invited to make comments. If no planning application is received, we will then consider whether the option of taking formal action is expedient. If it is not, then no further action will be taken.
If an attempt to negotiate and remedy a breach fails and enforcement action is appropriate, then formal action will be taken.
We will ensure that you are informed of the outcome of our investigations by phone or in writing.
Contact info
Development control
Luton Council, Town Hall, George Street, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU1 2BQ

[email protected]


© 2023 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ