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Luton Borough Council

What is a breach of planning control?

Planning enforcement action can only be considered where development has been undertaken without the required planning permission or the failure to comply with any condition imposed on any planning permission that has been granted.

The term 'development' is applied to physical building and engineering works and to changes of use. However, certain types of physical works or changes of use are defined as 'permitted development' which means that they are exempted by legislation from the need to obtain planning permission. Other situations that can be considered for planning enforcement action include:
  1. unauthorised display of advertisements
  2. unauthorised works to protected trees
  3. unauthorised works to listed buildings
  4. unauthorised demolition of certain buildings
  5. unauthorised storage of certain quantities of hazardous substances
  6. neglecting land or buildings to an extent which causes harm to local amenity
  7. failure to comply with a requirement of a Section 106 agreement, subject to which planning permission has been granted
  8. development being undertaken that is not in compliance with detailed plans subject to which planning permission has been granted.
Circumstances where the planning enforcement service will not be able to act include:
  1. the parking of vehicles on the highway
  2. dangerous structures
  3. trespass and boundary disputes
  4. noise complaints
  5. operating a business from home where the main use remains as a residence and this does not cause local problems
  6. breaches of  private covenants
  7. works to or the removal of trees which are not located in a conservation area or protected by a Tree Preservation Order.
It is not an offence to undertake development without first applying for planning permission, and planning legislation specifically provides for planning permission to be granted to development carried out before the date of an application. This is known as retrospective planning permission.
Where it is considered appropriate, we will give the opportunity to apply for retrospective permission. However, where serious harm is being caused, enforcement action will be taken.
There are certain breaches of planning control that constitute criminal acts and these offences can lead to prosecution from the outset. These breaches include:
  • unauthorised works to listed buildings
  • unauthorised  advertisements
  • unauthorised demolition of certain unlisted buildings in conservation areas
  • unauthorised works to trees protected by tree preservation orders.

How to report a potential planning breach to us

The simplest way to report a potential planning breach is by completing our online report form below.

Any details submitted to the council in relation to an enforcement report will be treated in the strictest confidence. The council will not reveal the identity of the informant to an owner or responsible party(s).

Please note: we cannot accept telephone or anonymous reports.

Report a potential planning breach

Contact info
Development control
Luton Council, Town Hall, George Street, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU1 2BQ

[email protected]


© 2024 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ