Planning Enforcement

Our planning enforcement team investigates suspected breaches of planning control reported by members of the public. These include development taking place without the benefit of planning permission and breaches of planning conditions attached to planning permissions.

You can find more information about the enforcement of planning control on the Planning Portal.

We take planning enforcement action to:

  • tackle breaches of planning control which would otherwise have an unacceptable impact on the amenity of an area.
  • remedy a detrimental impact on highway safety, for example, a direct result of significant increase in vehicle movements or the use/creation of a substandard access.
  • safeguard environmental, ecological and historic assets
  • maintain the integrity of, and public acceptance of, the decision-making process

We will only take action where there is clear and demonstrable harm caused by the breach of planning conditions. Any action we take will be proportionate to remedy the breach. The volume of complaints in relation to a breach of planning control is not an indicator of harm.

As the Local Planning Authority, we have no powers to take action on

  • Development which is Permitted Development by the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015. See our pages on planning permission and permitted development.
  • Boundary and trespass issues
    These are a civil matter and you should seek your own legal advice.
  • Loss of aspect or view
  • Obstruction of a Public Right of Way (PROW)
    You should report these to our Cheshire East Public Rights of Way Team
  • Activity taking place on a highway in the form of vehicles associated with new developments, or house renovations, where there are no parking restrictions.
  • Activity taking place on a highway where there are parking restrictions. You should report these to our parking team 
  • Obstruction of the highway by a vehicle is a police matter. You should report that to Cheshire Constabulary on 101 non-emergency call.
  • Works to trees not protected by a Tree Preservation Order or outside a Conservation Area.
  • Planting of shrubs/trees.
  • Storage of a caravan on a driveway (even if prohibited by a covenant)
    This is a civil matter, and you should seek your own independent legal advice.
  • Re-roofing properties (unless a listed building). Building Regulation approval may be required for some works. See our Building control pages for details
  • Standard television aerials
  • Solar panels on houses (unless in a Conservation Area or Listed Building)
  • Flying the national flag of any country
  • Restrictive covenants in deeds
    These are a civil matter and you should seek your own independent legal advice.
  • Loss of property value.
  • Competition between businesses.
  • Internal works (unless a listed building). Building Regulation approval may be required for some works. See our Building regulations pages for details

Report a suspected breach of planning

You can report a suspected breach of planning control to our enforcement team by filling in our online form.  Before you report a breach you should check

  • Is it something the Local Planning Authority can take action on?
  • Has planning permission been granted for the work?  Search for applications online and quote the planning reference number
  • Is the work permitted development?  The Planning Portal 'Do You Need Permission?' section provides information and interactive guides to help you find out if planning permission is needed and learn about the rules that apply. 

You will be asked for 

  • the exact location - you can include photographs
  • as much information as you can give about the breach of planning control and the harm it is causing
  • your email address - to speed up communication

To report a suspected breach of planning complete the below online form.

The form will take 10 minutes to complete. 

To find out how we use your information see our privacy notice (opens in a new window).

Anonymous complaints

We may not be able to investigate anonymous complaints. We may need evidence from you to identify a breach, for example allegations concerning running a business from a residential property or hours of operation of a business.  Without your evidence, formal enforcement action will fail at appeal or in the courts.

In these circumstances, we will make a desk top analysis. If it is considered necessary, we will make one site visit. If it is not possible to identify a breach of planning control from this visit, we will not take the investigation any further.

After you report the breach

We normally acknowledge a reported breach of planning control within 3 working days. We will, wherever possible, investigate in accordance with the timescales set out in the service specific Planning Enforcement Policy.

We are receiving a high volume of reports of alleged breaches of planning control. It may take us longer than the timescales set out in the Planning Enforcement Policy to

  • respond to your enquiry
  • undertake the initial site visit and
  • communicate the results of that visit to you.

We will deal with your enquiry as soon as possible

Our officers’ allocate a case priority and decide whether a site visit is required. They work to the Planning Enforcement Policy. Priorities are based on the level of harm being caused or likely to be caused.

It is our officer's discretion which priority a case is allocated and whether a site visit is required.

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A report of an alleged breach will only be allocated as a P1 where it appears to officers of the Council that irreparable harm is being, or is likely to be, caused to an historic/ecological asset or where there is the potential for irreparable harm to the environment, or members of the public. These include:

  • Unauthorised works to listed buildings
  • Unauthorised demolition in a Conservation Area
  • Development causing immediate and irreparable harm to an area of land which has special protection.
  • Development causing serious danger to the public (This does not include unsafe working practices or parking of operatives or delivery vehicles on the highway. These are matters that the Council cannot control and should be reported directly to the Health and Safety Executive or the police respectively.)
  • Unauthorised works to, or affecting, trees covered by a Tree Preservation Order, or in a Conservation Area.

A report of an alleged breach will be allocated as a P2 only where a significant degree of harm is likely to or is occurring in the opinion of officers of the Council. These include:

  • Building work that is already in progress
  • Development which is potentially immune from enforcement action within 6 months (following a period of 4 years in relation to building works already undertaken and 10 years in relation to a material change of use).
  • Development causing serious harm to its surroundings or the environment
  • Breaches of Condition/non compliance with approved plans which is considered by officers of the Council to be causing serious harm
  • Development which represents a clear breach of planning policy and is unlikely to be granted planning permission.

In all other instances and where no significant degree of harm is likely to result the Council will allocate a report of an alleged breach as a P3. These include:

  • Other building work which is complete, e.g. an extension which already has a roof on it.
  • Development not causing significant harm to its surroundings or the environment -   where the breach is technical in nature or is a minor deviation from a planning permission.
  • Advertisements.
  • Breaches of condition/non compliance with approved plans causing no significant harm to, or no harm to, the character or appearance of an area e.g. where a window has not been glazed with obscure glass and the development is not yet occupied.
  • Development which is likely to be permitted development, - the erection of sheds, outbuildings, porches, rear single storey extensions. 
  • Minor domestic development e.g. fences, satellite dishes 
  • Untidy Land, i.e. where land is having an adverse impact on the appearance of an area. (This does not extend to land which is merely overgrown).

Planning Enforcement Policy

We have a Planning Enforcement Policy in addition to the Council's Enforcement Policy.

Planning Enforcement Register

The enforcement team holds a register of all Enforcement Notices, Stop Notices and Breach of Condition Notices that have been served.

We maintain an Enforcement Register of Notices. You can arrange to view this at

  • the Northern Office
    for the area covered by the former Macclesfield Borough Council at the Town Hall Macclesfield or
  • the Southern Office
    for the area covered by the former Congleton and Crewe and Nantwich Borough Councils at the Municipal Buildings Earle Street, Crewe.

Phone 0300 123 5014 to make an appointment.

Appeals against enforcement notices

We may send you an enforcement notice if you’ve built or changed something without planning permission.

You can appeal against an enforcement notice if you own, rent or lawfully occupy the property or land it applies to.

If you make an appeal the notice does not become effective and compliance with its requirements is held in abeyance until the appeal has been determined. The Planning Inspectorate (PINS) deal with appeals against an Enforcement Notice. To appeal or take part in an appeal visit .

An appeal against a Notice Requiring the Proper Maintenance of Land is heard in the Magistrates Court.

Contact Planning Enforcement

Planning Enforcement, Cheshire East Council

0300 123 5014

Page last reviewed: 15 May 2020