4 September 2019

Planning enforcement annual report

Last year our planning enforcement team resolved nearly 600 cases, ranging from unauthorised signage and home extensions to alterations on listed buildings and houses converted into accommodation for several different households (HMOs).

More than half of cases investigated in 2018/19 revealed no planning breach. 

Most of our cases were settled through negotiation or by property owners gaining planning permission through the planning process. Only 26 cases had to be resolved through taking formal action by serving a planning enforcement notice.

The team’s work will be discussed at the Planning Committee on 4 September.

Further research

Chair of the committee councillor Tracey Hill said: “These statistics show how busy the service is and how it is helping to protect against unauthorised development, harmful alterations to our heritage buildings and neglect of properties and land.

“A high number of reports were shown not to have planning breaches and we will be carrying out further research with a view to reducing these so that our team can concentrate on cases where a breach has occurred.”

Since October 2018 field officers have been assisting planning enforcement with site visits, unauthorised signage and condition of buildings investigations.

In January a new enforcement policy enabled all new cases to be allocated to an officer and prioritised as soon as they come in and the enforcement team will shortly begin a trial with mobile tablets for use on site visits.


Officers also investigated whether more than 400 large licensed HMOs (for seven or more people) had planning permission and found 193 with inconclusive planning status. These have been served with planning contravention notices.

In the coming year we will carry out a study into why Brighton & Hove lost 42% of enforcement appeals, compared with 18% for other similar authorities. One of the reasons could be the high focus on HMO conversions in the city in recent years leading to property owners challenging enforcement notices and winning on appeal – of the 38 enforcement notices last year just under half (18) related to HMOs..  

However the number of new cases about unauthorised HMOs has fallen over the last three years from 192 in 2016/17 to 66 last year reflecting the council’s work to establish a consistent approach and raise awareness of local regulations for smaller HMOs. These were introduced in 2013 in five wards.

More information

Find out more about planning enforcement 

Read the reports for the planning committee

Watch the planning committee

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