Monitoring & enforcement

Find out how we monitor & enforce developments & investigate breaches of planning control

We monitor developments to ensure they are being carried out properly. We investigate alleged breaches of planning control and take enforcement action when necessary.

View our Strategy for the Monitoring and Enforcement of Planning Control for more information.

Monitoring development

We are responsible for monitoring planning permissions we have granted and investigating any complaints about these developments.

We want to ensure that developments in the county have the correct planning permission in place and that works are being carried out properly, within the conditions attached to the planning permission.

If this doesn’t happen and a breach of planning permission occurs, council officers will try to resolve the problem with the developer. The majority of enforcement investigations are resolved this way.

If this isn’t possible, formal enforcement action will need to be considered.

The council have a duty to collect all S106 contributions.

These agreements are regularly reviewed by the monitoring officers to ensure the contributions are secured in accordance with the timeframe set out in the agreement.

View Section 106 agreements here.

Monitoring waste and minerals sites

The council is responsible for monitoring and enforcing minerals and waste developments. We undertake site inspections of all our sites checking that there are no breaches of planning control and highlighting any issues that may need attention.

We produce an inspection report following our site visit.

The most recent inspection reports will be available to view below shortly - if you need to access these now, please email with the details of the report you are looking for.

If you would like to see earlier reports for any of the sites, please email

  • Acomb Mine
  • Alcan PFA Lagoons
  • Allendale Household Waste Recovery Centre
  • Allerdean Mine Water Treatment
  • Alnwick WTS
  • Amble Sewage Treatment Works
  • Anick Grange Farm
  • Barrington Waste Transfer Station
  • Bebside HWRC
  • Berwick WTS
  • Blenkinsopp Mine Water Treatment
  • Bothal Barns Landfill Site
  • Boulmer Sewage Treatment Works
  • Chesterhill Landfill Site
  • Coopies Lane Waste TS
  • Denwick Landfill Site
  • East Cramlington Inert Recycling Facility
  • East Cramlington Waste Transfer Station
  • Ellington Road Landfill Site
  • Haltwhistle HWRC
  • Harecrag Landfill
  • Hexham Waste Transfer Station
  • Longhirst Inert Landfill Site
  • Low Prudhoe Waste Transfer Station
  • Nafferton Farm Composting Site
  • North Seaton Household Waste Recovery Centre
  • North Sunderland HWRC
  • Pegswood Waste Transfer Station
  • Powburn Sewage Treatment Works
  • Prestwick Pit Landfill Site
  • Seghill Landfill Site
  • Shiel Dykes
  • West Wylam HWRC
  • Whorral Bank HWRC
  • Wooler HWRC
  • Whittle Mine Water Treatment System

Breaches of planning control

We are responsible for investigating alleged breaches of planning control and unauthorised development.

5Report a breach of planning control here

A breach of planning control usually occurs when:

  • a development requiring planning permission is undertaken without permission being granted (because either planning permission was not applied for or because the planning application was refused)
  • conditions attached to a planning permission have not been complied with

Potential breaches of planning control also include:

  • unauthorised development to Listed Buildings
  • unauthorised development in Conservation Areas
  • unauthorised use of land or premises
  • development not in accordance with the approved plans
  • the felling or pruning of a tree protected by a ‘tree preservation order’ (TPO)
  • advertising without consent
  • unsightly land or buildings that affect the amenity of the surrounding area
  • changes of use of land or property have occurred without planning permission
  • breaches of conditions on waste and minerals sites
  • high hedges
  • hedgerow removal under The Hedgerow Regulations 1997

The following are matters that we cannot deal with:

  • Neighbour disputes
  • Enforcement of covenants
  • Land ownership or boundary disputes
  • Parking or other activities carried out within the highway

Check what needs planning permission:

You can check what needs planning permission using the information on the planning portal or by going to our do I need permission page.

If you feel there has been a breach of planning control, or have concerns about a development that is taking place, please report this to us:

You can also download and complete our planning enforcement form and return it to us by:

Please provide as much information as possible including:

  • your name, address and contact telephone number and email address if you have one
  • a description of what the alleged breach is
  • the address/location where the alleged breach has taken place
  • the date and time of the alleged breach
  • the name of the person(s)/company responsible for the alleged breach (where known)

Details of the person reporting the breach (the complainant) will be kept confidential unless the complainant agrees to their details being released. However, information may be shared with other council departments or agencies such as public protection, licensing, trading standards, highways, the Environment Agency or the Police if appropriate.

More information on the council’s procedures for dealing with breaches of planning are set out in the Strategy for the Monitoring and Enforcement of Planning Control.

All reports of alleged breaches will be recorded and investigated by the council.

An officer will begin an investigation and undertake a site visit to assess the situation if necessary. We will then look at the legislative guidelines and take all the evidence into account to make a decision on whether enforcement action is needed.

Once a decision has been made the complainant (if relevant) will be notified.

In some cases it may be appropriate to request a retrospective planning application to resolve the situation.

The council may decide not to take any action at all, if the breach is minor and/or causing no real harm.

For more information on the council’s procedures for dealing with breaches of planning are set out in the Strategy for the Monitoring and Enforcement of Planning Control.


  • We aim to acknowledge reports of breaches within five working days of receipt.
  • Depending upon the level of priority assigned to the case an initial site visit should be undertaken within 20 working days.
  • We aim to update the complainant of the outcome of an initial investigation and the proposed next steps within 28 working days.


Where negotiation fails to resolve a breach of planning control or a retrospective application is refused, the council will consider whether to take formal enforcement action.

The council can serve legal notices to:

  • stop breaches of planning control
  • require unauthorised uses of land or buildings to cease
  • require the removal of structures or buildings that do not have planning permission
  • require the removal of unauthorised advertisements.

The enforcement powers available to the council include:

  • Planning Contravention Notice
  • Breach of Condition Notice
  • Enforcement Notice
  • Stop Notice
  • Temporary Stop Notice
  • Injunction
  • Direct Action
  • Prosecution
  • Discontinuance Notice

More information on the enforcement action that can be taken by the council can be found in the Strategy for the Monitoring and Enforcement of Planning Control.

Report a breach of planning control here.

Anyone an interest in the land (which normally means the owner, tenant or leaseholder) can appeal against an Enforcement Notice that has been served by the council.

Find out more about planning appeals here.

High hedges

Planting a hedge can be an ideal garden boundary, but the wrong hedge may bring problems if they are not regularly maintained.

Councils can consider complaints about high hedges if all reasonable means have been taken to resolve the matter.

More information is available:

If you have no option but to submit a formal complaint, please complete the High Hedge Complaint Form using High Hedge Complaint Guidance Notes and send it to:

Central Registry Team
Northumberland County Council
County Hall
NE61 2EF