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Purbeck District Council Planning Enforcement

We investigate alleged breaches of planning control. We give answers to frequently asked questions and links to policies, enquiry forms and useful information.

Breaches of planning control

In most cases, breaches of planning control are not illegal, but can be contrary to planning law.

The exceptions are:

  • unauthorised works to listed buildings
  • unauthorised works on trees with a preservation order
  • unauthorised advertisements
  • non-compliance with enforcement notices

Resolving breaches of planning control

The Planning Enforcement Policy sets out how the council deals with breaches of planning control and what we will investigate as part of a planning enforcement case. Where possible, we will seek to resolve breaches of planning control through negotiation.

As a last resort, the council may decide that it needs to use its planning enforcement powers, if the breach in planning control is causing harm.

Works carried out without planning permission

Some development may not need planning permission because planning law allows work or uses to be carried out through permitted development rights. Find further information on the  permitted development in Purbeck webpage.

Enforcement action

The council does not take enforcement action against all breaches of planning control and if not considered to be harmful, the investigation may be closed and no further action taken. The land or property owner can elect to submit a planning application to retain the unauthorised works and the fact that the works were unauthorised will have no bearing upon how the council determines the application.

Where a breach of planning control is causing harm and there is no other way of resolving the harmful impact, the council may decide to take enforcement action by serving a planning enforcement notice. The notice will specify what is required to remedy the breach or mitigate the harm and will be recorded in the council's enforcement register. This is available to view at the council offices in Wareham.

There is a right of appeal against enforcement notices to the planning inspectorate.

Submit an enforcement enquiry

No action will be taken without the submission of this form.

An officer will acknowledge receiving your enquiry. Please ensure you provide as much information as possible as this will help us look into the matter in the appropriate way.

After receiving your completed form, the council will decide what action to take. It may be possible to conduct a desk based review, without visiting the site, to resolve the issue.

If we feel that more information is needed to resolve the matter, an enforcement case will be opened that could involve visiting the site and talking to the people who own or occupy the land.


If you decide to write to the council, your details will be treated in confidence.

However, at a later date, if the council needs to rely on the information you have supplied, officers may ask you to participate in a planning appeal or a court case. Under these circumstances, it will not be possible to maintain your confidentially. Further information on participation in appeals.

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