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Planning enforcement - unauthorised work and planning complaints

The Town and Country Planning Act provides for formal enforcement action to be taken where the Department considers it expedient to do so. Residents often report issues to the Department which, although they relate to buildings or land, are not always covered under planning enforcement powers.

Below is a guide to the alleged breaches which can, and cannot, be investigated by planning enforcement.

  • Material changes of use (e.g. use of land for unauthorised storage or use of land as unauthorised extension to residential curtilage)

  • Building without planning approval (e.g. residential development – unauthorised extensions/fences etc.); you can check whether planning approval has been granted through online services or by calling +44 1624 685950

  • Non-compliance with planning conditions (e.g. hours of operations or implementation of planting schemes)

  • Enforcement of the Control of Advertisement Regulations.  Enquiries regarding A-Framed boards in the highway should be directed to the Department of Infrastructure’s Report a problem site

  • Unauthorised works to Registered buildings and buildings within Conservation Areas and

  • Development not built in accordance with approved plans

A breach of planning control is an offence, and so it is important that alleged breaches are investigated and that consideration is given to using the Department’s discretionary powers to take proportionate action. 

To facilitate in the carrying out of the above the Department has produced an operational policy (see downloadable documents) which sets out in more detail the approach to planning enforcement within the Planning and Building Control Directorate of the Department of Environment, Food & Agriculture.

If your concerns fall within any of the above categories and you wish to report a matter where you think a planning breach may have occurred please complete the Planning Enquiry form (see downloadable documents).

The more information you can give us the better. Officers will visit the site but will only be present for a relatively short space of time; therefore, your observations may be crucial.

Planning enforcement is restricted to matters associated with Town and Country Planning Legislation.

For this reason it is not possible to deal with the matters summarised below.

Civil matters

You may wish to consider consulting an advocate or Citizens Advice on +44 1624 813466.

  • Land ownership and boundary disputes; you may wish to contact the Land Registry

  • Neighbour disputes

  • Legal Covenants

  • Destruction of property during the building process

  • Squatting

  • Trespass

Environment, safety and health matters

 Environment, safety and health matters advice can be found online.

  • Noise or smell or air pollution nuisance caused by approved development

  • Unsafe structures

  • Fly tipping

Other matters

  • Devaluation of property

  • Competition to other business

  • Loss of view

  • Land which adversely affects the amenity of the area, enquiries of this nature should be directed to the area Commissioners

  • Suspected breaches of the Building Control Regulations 2014, should be directed to Building Control

  • Unauthorised works to protected trees, should be directed to Forestry

The form should be emailed to or sent by post to:

Planning Enforcement

Planning and Building Control Directorate

Department of Environment Food and Agriculture

First Floor

Murray House

Mount Havelock


Isle of Man


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