Investigating planning enforcement complaints

We receive a huge number of enquiries on a wide range of matters every year. In order to respond to these efficiently it is crucial that sufficient information is available.

To help with this we have a downloadable form at the foot of this page and emailing the completed form to:

Or you can post the form to: "Planning Development, Havant Borough Council, Public Service Plaza, Civic Centre Road, Havant PO9 2AX".

If a concern is urgent call Customer Services on 023 9244 6015.

This will identify the person or group complaining, what land or property is involved, the nature of the works or use causing concern, contact details of the occupier or owner of the land if known and the impact of the use. Obviously the information on a form is confidential and the details of the enquirer remain confidential through any enforcement investigation.

If insufficient information is provided the enquirer will be contacted generally by a member of the Planning Enforcement Team to discuss concerns and obtain the relevant information to allow the investigation to proceed. If this is not provided the matter cannot be properly investigated and no further action will be taken.

Please note that we do not investigate anonymous complaints.

The investigation

The Planning Enforcement Team will assess the detail of the enquiry to determine how matters should proceed.  This may include the need for further information being provided by the enquirer (in the form of a Breach Diary), some monitoring of the site by team members during an agreed timescale and/or a visit to the site as appropriate. 

Possible action

Many investigations reveal that whilst a development or use technically requires consent it is not appropriate to take action even if a retrospective planning application is not submitted.  This approach is in line with government advice that makes it clear enforcement powers are discretionary and should only be used where the circumstances justify it. If following an investigation it is found that a development or use is unacceptable we can serve an Enforcement Notice that requires the use to cease or the development to be removed in whole or part.

A right of appeal exists against such action and the whole process can be quite protracted. Other more onerous and quicker acting planning powers such as a stop notice or injunction proceedings are also available but these are only considered in the most exceptional circumstances.