Manchester City Council

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Planning & regeneration Planning Enforcement

About planning enforcement

The Planning Enforcement Team deals with any alleged breach of planning control reported to them by members of the public, Councillors or other departments within the Council.

We also monitor conditions imposed on planning permissions and check, wherever possible, that development is being built in accordance with the planning approval, whether it is a small household extension or a large building site.

At Manchester we believe that the Development Management service is supported by its readiness to take the appropriate enforcement action when it is considered expedient to do so.

Our policies and procedures draw on the advice given in Government Guidance PPG 18 (Enforcing Planning Controls), and Circular 10/97. They play an important part in the effective and efficient management of the Planning Enforcement Team and help to make the best use of our available resources.

There are various subjects within planning legislation that the Planning Enforcement Team can consider, these include

  • building works
  • material changes of use
  • display of advertisements
  • works to protected trees and
  • works undertaken to listed buildings

Planning legislation operates on two levels, a permissive system and a consent system. A large amount of building work can be undertaken without the need for planning permission, this is referred to as "permitted development".

A breach of planning control is where planning permission has not been obtained in advance of the development taking place or the development has exceeded the limitations so that it can no longer be deemed to be permitted.

This is not criminal in itself and formal enforcement action is discretionary and based on the principle of expediency. Action will normally only be taken where a breach is considered unacceptable and harmful to public amenity or is in the wider public interest.

The display of an advertisement, works to protected tress and works to listed buildings fall within the consent system, where failure to obtain the necessary consent, prior to their display or work being undertaken is a criminal offence. This can often carry high fines and in some cases can lead to a prison sentence.

Dealing with high hedges

The Planning Enforcement Team can also consider complaints relating to High Hedges providing that they meet the relevant criteria of Part 8 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. However, the City Council does charge a fee for dealing with these types of complaints. If you require more information on this subject please read our High Hedges pages.

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