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Planning enforcement

Report a planning breach

It is a breach of planning control if you do not get planning permission or consent for a development that requires it. Breaches of planning control are generally not criminal offences. However, it is a criminal offense to display unauthorised advertisements or work on a listed building or protected trees without permission. Our Enforcement Strategy document sets out how we operate.

Enforcement Strategy 2017 (PDF) [261KB]

Breaches include: 

  • Development (building/engineering works or change of use of property/land) without planning permission
  • Not keeping to the planning permission, either for an approved plan or the failure to follow conditions
  • Carrying out of works to a listed building without consent, including the installation of UPVC windows
  • Felling or working on a tree which is under a Tree Preservation Order or which is within a Conservation Area
  • Demolition of a building within a Conservation Area
  • Using a mobile home as a residence
  • Unauthorised advertisements
  • Fencing
  • Action can be taken regarding the untidy condition of land

Not considered breaches:

  • On-street parking of commercial vehicles in residential area
  • Operating a business from home but the primary use is still residential and there is no adverse impact on amenity
  • Parking a mobile home within the grounds of your home, provided that it is used for storage or an extra bedroom
  • Clearing land of undergrowth, bushes and trees, as long as they are not under a Tree Preservation Order or in a Conservation Area

Make an enforcement complaint

All complaints must be made in writing providing your name, postal address and contact telephone number using the Enforcement complaint form.

When you report a breach of planning control, details of your complaint may become public. However your name and address will NOT be revealed to the person or organisation involved in the alleged breach.

We will try to acknowledge your complaint within five working days of receiving it. At this time, we will advise you of the complaint reference number and the enforcement case officer.

Planning enforcement register

The register provides an electronic record of all Enforcement Notices, Stop Notices and Breach of Condition Notices served within Chichester District from 1981 listed by Parish in alphabetical order.  For notices prior to 1981, please contact the team on New notices and updates to existing notices (such as when an appeal is received) will be uploaded to the register regularly.

Please note that the register does not provide details of enforcement cases where a notice has not been served or those issued in the South Downs National Park. Enforcement register (Excel doc) [146KB]

Enforcement notices for the South Downs National Parks Authority area

View an enforcement notice in the South Downs National Park (opens new window)

High hedges

If your neighbour's hedges are causing concern, we first advise you to talk to your neighbour as they may be unaware that it is causing you a problem. Consider the problems you are having so that you can approach your neighbour calmly. Sometimes taking a few photos can help them appreciate your concerns.

If you have exhausted all other avenues for resolving your hedge dispute you can take your complaint about a neighbour's hedge to us. The law relates only to hedges that are composed mainly of evergreen trees. Often these are conifer hedges.

Our role is not to mediate or negotiate between you and your neighbour but to act as a neutral third party on whether the hedge is adversely affecting the reasonable enjoyment of your property. We must strike a balance between the competing interests of you and the hedge owner, as well as those of the wider community.

Further information relating to high hedges can be found on the website (opens new window).

Provided you have exhausted all other avenues for resolving a hedge dispute, you can forward your complaint to us by submitting detailed forms, support evidence, other documentation and a fee of £300

  • The complaint will either be dismissed or a formal notice will be issued to the hedge owner that sets out what they are required to do to fix the problem.
  • In most cases this would amount to a reduction in height of no less than two metres (6ft 6ins).
  • The notice would also set a time limit by when the work should be carried out and a requirement that the maximum height is maintained.
  • Failure to carry out the works is an offence which, on conviction, could lead to a fine of up to £1000.
  • In addition, a daily fine can be imposed for continued failure to carry out the work following prosecution.
  • We can carry out the work and recover its costs if the owner fails to do so.

Please note we do not accept cash or cheques with your application and no refund will be given once the process has started.

You can provide photographs with your application however one of our officers will visit the site. Once we have validated your application, we will send a copy of the form to the owner of the hedge in question once we have removed any sensitive or personal information. The owner will be given the opportunity to provide further information at this stage.

A Case Officer will arrange to visit the site to assess the hedge. Once an assessment has been made both the applicant and owner of the hedge will be informed of the outcome.

Make a high hedges complaint


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