Planning enforcement during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

We are continuing to accept online Planning Enforcement Complaint Forms. Please do not send letters requesting investigation through the post as we may not be able to collect and log the complaint.

In line with government guidance on physical distancing, we will be limiting site visits. So, please attach photographs showing alleged breaches with all electronic complaints requesting investigation. The department will still register cases, but processing may be subject to delays and may take longer than usual.

We're mindful of government guidance about assisting those businesses providing services to the community in response to COVID-19 and we'll assess each case individually.

To help us deal with your enquiry, please make sure you take note of the following information.

The Planning Department will not be able to investigate matters which are:

  • solely of a civil nature (boundary disputes)
  • purely related to noise or other environmental disturbance (please refer to our Environmental Health Team)
  • property which appears to be unsafe (please refer to our Building Control Team)

The information in the links below may assist your understanding of the planning process, if a development requires planning permission and more.

How to make a complaint about an unauthorised development

Complaints are only accepted in writing through the Planning Enforcement Complaint Form unless the complaint relates to an urgent matter, such as where the fabric of a listed building is at risk. It helps us if you submit photographs.

See our Enforcement Complaint FAQs (PDF 45KB) for more information on how we investigate the issues. We do not give out details of complainants, so your complaint will remain confidential.

​Enforcement register

All the formal enforcement notices issued in Brighton & Hove are published in our Enforcement Register.

The Enforcement Register is in date order. Use search to find a particular address in the document.

Enforcement policy

Our Planning Enforcement Policy (PDF 1MB) includes the aims and objectives of the service; the approach taken and the options available to the service; and what the complainant can expect.

When we can take enforcement action

We cannot accept anonymous complaints. We need to be able to verify the details of the complaint, for example the location, nature of breach.

The Enforcement Team may not be able to take action in some circumstances.

For example:

  • when the work or change of use falls within nationally defined ‘permitted development’ rules. (Do I need Planning Permission?)
  • where an advert benefits from ‘deemed consent’ by the advert regulations
  • where breaches of planning control are immune from enforcement action because a number of years have now passed (10 years, or 4 years for a self-contained dwelling)
  • the works are considered ‘de minimis,’ for example, too minor to fall under the scope of planning control
  • it is not expedient to take action
  • because the work has planning permission (check the Planning Register)

The investigations and enforcement team

The team investigates and enforces against alleged breaches of planning control.  Often this process involves negotiating rather than proceeding automatically to the service of legal notices.  Examples of the types of allegation we investigate include:

  • unauthorised extensions to a property
  • unauthorised changes in the use of land or buildings. (Use class information and associated policies)
  • unauthorised demolition of or alterations to listed buildings or buildings within a conservation area
  • works not in accordance with an approval or where conditions have not been complied with
  • unauthorised display of an advert
  • land or buildings which have been neglected and are significantly harmful to the area

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