Planning Portal

Information Leaflet 10: A Guide to Enforcement
What Constitutes a Breach of Planning Control

A breach of planning control occurs when ‘development’ or certain other activities take place without the necessary planning permission or consent from Planning Service.
The Planning (NI) Order (as amended) 2003 Opens link in a new browser window defines a breach of planning control as being:
  • The carrying out of development without planning permission; or
  • Failing to comply with any condition or limitation subject to which planning permission has been granted.
It is not a criminal offence to carry out development without planning permission, or fail to comply with any condition or limitation subject to which planning permission has been granted. However, where an Enforcement Notice has been served (see Formal Action) and the offender has not complied with the requirements of the Notice, he/she is then guilty of an offence.

What is not a breach of Planning Control?

Article 11 of the Planning (NI) Order 1991 sets out the meaning of ‘development’. Certain types of minor works or activities do not fall within the meaning of ‘development’ and do not require planning permission.
Certain types of building works, changes of use or activities do fall within the meaning of development but are defined as ‘permitted development’. Detailed guidance on what constitutes permitted development is set out in the Planning (General Development Order) (NI) 1993 (GDO).
Further information on what constitutes permitted development in the domestic situation can be found in the Department’s publication ‘Your Home and Planning Permission’.
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