Planning enforcement

It is important to us that the interests of residents, visitors and businesses are protected from the harmful effects of unauthorised development, in addition to protecting the local environment.

The planning enforcement team therefore investigate alleged breaches of planning control and take steps to resolve identified breaches.

Report a breach of planning control

To report a breach of planning control, please fill out our planning enforcement online complaint form.

Please note, we can only take planning enforcement action when there has been a confirmed breach of planning control and we do not investigate anonymous complaints.

Breaches that we may be able to investigate include:

  • A material change of use of land - this is where the use of the land has changed such that it is materially different from what it was previously and planning permission has not been granted. An example may be an agricultural field that is now used to store motor vehicles;
  • A new structure, building or other physical works e.g. fences, buildings, or anything else which is constructed/built etc;
  • Works that are not being carried out in accordance with plans approved as part of a planning permission;
  • A breach of a condition attached to a planning permission;
  • An untidy site;
  • Works to a tree if it is within a Conservation Area or protected by a Tree Preservation Order;
  • Works to a listed building without listed building consent;
  • The display of some types of advertisements.

We can't investigate:

  • Use of/or works on the highway, footway or verge - please contact Surrey County Council to report a highways problem. If you consider there to be an immediate highway safety issue, you should contact the police;
  • dangerous structure - please contact our Building Control Section on 01483 444545;
  • Neighbour nuisance issues/boundary and land ownership disputes - these are civil matters that the Council cannot get involved in. Further advice on these matters could be obtained from a solicitor or the Citizen's Advice Bureau;
  • Loud noises or other statutory nuisances are dealt with by our Environmental Health Section. You can report a noise nuisance here;
  • Fly-tipping - you can report fly tipping and graffiti here;
  • A breach of a covenant - these are civil matters that the Council cannot get involved in. Further advice on these matters could be obtained from a solicitor or the Citizen's Advice Bureau;
  • Concerns that have yet to occur - planning enforcement can only take action once a breach has occurred. We are unable to prevent development occurring prior to commencement.

Local Enforcement Plan

Our  icon Local Enforcement Plan [362.87KB] provides a framework for investigating and enforcing breaches of planning control.

This plan enables us to provide a robust planning enforcement service within Guildford Borough, highlighting priorities for cases and the powers available when dealing with breaches of planning control.

High hedges

Planning enforcement also investigate complaints relating to high hedges made under Part 8 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003.  If you are having a dispute with a neighbour about the height of their hedge, we may be able to help.

In order to make a complaint, you must have already attempted to resolve the dispute directly. Making a high hedge complaint is also subject to a fee.

For further information on making a hedge complaint, please see our high hedges page.