Planning enforcement

We are committed to dealing with planning applications as quickly as possible and do not stand in the way of development without justification.

We can however apply enforcement powers when there is a failure to comply with planning regulations.

Local enforcement plan

Our Local Enforcement Plan explains how we investigate reports of unauthorised development, the powers we have to resolve breaches of planning control, and what the enforcement process entails.

The enforcement powers available to us can be used to establish whether a breach of planning control has taken place, what harm a breach has caused, and how we can remedy the situation.

Report an alleged breach of planning control

Before reporting an alleged breach of planning control, it is important to consider if planning permission or advertisement consent would be required. For example, some developments can take place without permission from the local planning authority.

It is also important to consider what we can and cannot investigate.

If permission is required, you can check our planning applications database to see if permission has been granted.

If permission is required and has not been granted, you can report it using the forms below:

View the planning enforcement flow chart for an explanation of how we undertake investigations of alleged breaches of planning control.

What we can and cannot investigate

We can investigate:

  • Development carried out without planning permission
  • Material changes in land-use
  • Breaches of a planning permission, its conditions or S106 agreement
  • Illegal advertisements
  • Unauthorised works to a listed building
  • Unauthorised works to protected trees
  • Demolition in conservation areas
  • Untidy land
  • High-hedges

We cannot investigate:

  • Party-wall disputes
  • Boundary disputes or trespass
  • Deeds and covenants
  • Neighbour disputes or the conduct of builders
  • Building Regulation issues
  • Health and safety concerns
  • Environmental issues
  • Internal works to non-listed buildings
  • Public rights of way
  • Highways obstructions

Development that does not require permission

Some types of development, including extensions, changes of use, and the display of advertisements can take place without permission from the local planning authority.

The following guides explain when permission is required:

Planning enforcement charges

You can request advice and information to ensure that you are compliant with planning regulations.

Advice and information requests are chargeable services at the rates shown in the table below. Payment must be made before you receive the advice or information.

Advice and information request charges
Request type 2023/24 charge
Requests for confirmation of compliance with an Enforcement Notice, Breach of Condition Notice or other similar Notice under the Planning Acts £243
Requests to withdraw an extant Enforcement Notice, Breach of Condition Notice or other similar Notice £243
Planning conditions compliance check £243
High-hedge investigation £600
Set fee for research and archive retrieval of information on planning and enforcement records (discretion to charge extra fee per officer hourly rates if additional staff time is necessary) £130

Specific enforcement advice, meetings, information requests etc. will be charged at an officer hourly rate.

Restrictions on the display of estate agent boards

There are restrictions in place that ban the display of estate agent boards in seven areas of the borough.

Estate agent boards cannot be displayed in:

  • Balham Town Centre
  • Clapham Junction Town Centre
  • Lavender Hill
  • Northcote Road
  • Old York Road
  • Putney Town Centre
  • Queenstown Road

View a map showing the extent of these areas.

Estate agent boards can still be displayed within four designated areas of the borough. If you wish to display an estate agent board within one of these areas, you will need to contact us for our express consent. Displaying boards without the required consent can lead to enforcement action that could result in a fine of up to £2,500.

Report unauthorised estate agent boards

You can report unauthorised estate agent boards using our breach reporting form.