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Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans for our places and open spaces

How to report a breach of planning

If you suspect a breach of planning and would like to report this, we advise that you record all complaints in writing - either by letter or email so that there is a logged record of the complaint.

When reporting a suspected breach of planning please supply as much information as possible about the current and previous situation, including:

  • your name and address, telephone number or e-mail address
  • exact location of the building or site
  • nature of the building operations or change of use of a property which you suspect does not have permission and approximate dimension of any new building works
  • date when the activity or development started or when it occurs
  • names and addresses of any owners, occupiers, builders, agents or companies involved (if known)
  • tell us what problems the development is causing to you (e.g. noise, traffic, smells, overshadowing)

You can report a breach of planning by contacting the Planning Enforcement team or in urgent cases concerning work to a listed building or cutting down of a protected tree contact the Planning Enforcement team by telephone: 01642 526386 or 01642 526449. You can also use the Planning Enforcement Complaint Form.

You can also ask your Ward Councillor or Parish Council to take up your complaint.

You may find the leaflets below useful:

 

Will my complaint be kept confidential?

Under the Data Protection Act, the name and address of the person making the complaint, or any other contact details, will not be disclosed.

The only exception to this is when we are taking formal action and you have been asked to collect evidence to support your complaint. In these cases you may be asked to give that evidence at a hearing, but before then you will be asked if you are prepared to do that. Most complaints are dealt with without the need for formal action, so in most cases confidentiality can be maintained.

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Council have to make information available to the public, including information about complaints. However if a request is made under this legislation for the identity of the complainant or for information which may identify the complainant you will be contacted for permission for the Council can disclose your details, if you refuse then the request will be denied for this personal information. Please be aware however that the information may be required to be disclosed by law and whilst the Council will endeavour to maintain confidentiality, it cannot give any firm guarantees.

Formal notices that are served, along with a list of all those people served with that notice, are also public documents.

We do check anonymous complaints, but they take a lower priority than others and investigations might have to be closed if we cannot obtain further information from the source of the complaint.

However it must be noted that any comments made under the consultation process due to a planning application / appeal being received are open to public scrutiny as the planning file is a public document.