The Council is committed to delivering high-quality sustainable services to the public. This information has been produced to accompany our Planning Enforcement Charter, to provide a brief guide to the enforcement process, and to tell you what standards of service you can expect when dealing with us.
Service standards are monitored and results reported to senior management, as we strive to ensure we continuously improve our service delivery to customers. In Scotland, planning permission is required for most development that takes place. Sometimes however, someone may carry out work without planning permission, or they don't keep to the permission they have been given. The Council has powers to act in such cases. The Council will investigate breaches of planning control. These can include:
- work being carried out without planning permission or other consent
- an unauthorised change of use of land or buildings
- carrying out work which is not in line with the approved plans or consent
- carrying out work which is not in line with conditions attached to a permission or consent
- carrying out work to trees that are protected by a planning condition or a Tree Preservation Order
The purpose of planning enforcement is to resolve the problem rather than to punish the mistake. It is also important to remember that enforcement is a discretionary power. This means that we will decide if it is in the public interest to take enforcement action where planning control has been broken. We are not obliged to take any action, and in some cases we may decide that no action is necessary. In some cases, the Council may not be able to take any action. Generally, building work carried out more than four years ago, or a change of use of land or a property that took place more than 10 years ago, is considered lawful and immune from action. Some complaints, such as neighbour disputes over boundaries, relate to matters over which planning law has no control, and cannot be investigated.