5. Complicated investigations

Sometimes, one visit to a site will not be enough to collect all the information we need to make a decision. For example, a use may be irregular or only at certain times of the year. In other cases, it may not be possible to find out who is responsible for what is happening.

We always have to remember that the case might end in a planning appeal or go to Court, so our evidence must be solid and stand up to independent examination. Our investigation must therefore be thorough.

The person making the enforcement complaint may often be able to help give us by providing the information we need by, for example, keeping a diary of comings and goings. Officers will be able to give you advice on how to do this. It will also be helpful if you are willing to give evidence, in writing or in person, if a case is taken up.

We can also serve a planning contravention notice, which will require the owner or occupier of the land to give us information about activities on the land or their interest in the land. We often use this power as a first step towards enforcement action.