Report a suspected planning breach

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Planning enforcement remains a critical function of the council during the coronavirus period. Please consider whether potential breaches are serious. Before reporting a breach, please check the Planning portal - common projects webpage which details common householder projects that do not need permission from the Council. The webpage also contains guidance on a number of other issues such as advertisements and non-domestic projects.

Tell us if you're concerned about a development which you think does not have planning permission. Our planning enforcement team can:

  • investigate alleged breaches of planning control
  • take steps to resolve identified breaches

Report suspected planning breach

We have a separate process for investigating high hedges.

We cannot take enforcement action unless there is a confirmed breach. We also cannot act on an anonymous complaint. 

We cannot prevent a a problem before it happens. For example, we cannot stop a development from being built until after work has started. It's really important to check whether someone's project needs planning permission before reporting it to us. If the project does not need permission, we cannot do anything about it. Before reporting something, check the planning portals common projects.

Our team can act if someone:

✔ changes the use of some land without getting planning permission

✔ builds a new structure without getting planning permission

✔ does something different to what they said in their application for planning permission

✔ breaches a condition of their planning permission

✔ keeps an untidy site while they work

✔ works on a tree that's in a conservation area or covered by a Tree Preservation Order

✔ works on a listed building without getting listed building consent first

✔ displays a restricted type of advertisement without permission

We cannot investigate the following:

✗ report problems with the use of or works on a highway, footpath, or verge to Surrey County Council. If there's immediate danger, contact the police

✗ report a dangerous structure to our Building Control team

✗ report a noise nuisance to our Environmental Health team

✗ report fly tipping or graffiti

There are also some issues which you should seek advice about from your solicitor or Citizens Advice. These include:

  • neighbour nuisance issues
  • boundary and land ownership disputes
  • a breach of a legal contract

The Government has said councils should not enforce breaches of delivery hours related to moving key goods - for instance food deliveries. They've also given pubs and restaurants temporary rights to provide takeaway services.

Our Icon for pdf Local Enforcement Plan [362.87KB] shows the strategy we use for investigating suspected breaches.