Planning enforcement - What we can and can't do

The enforcement team investigate alleged breaches of planning control including:

  • unauthorised changes of use or building development
  • non-compliance with plans or conditions
  • unlawful advertisements
  • unauthorised encampments

We receive about 800 allegations each year, by phone, email and in writing. A proportion of these are considered, after investigation, not to be matters we can deal with.

The full policy for Planning enforcement in Havering, including the actions we may take and the service standards we seek to adhere to, is available to download here:

Planning enforcement policy

What we can't do

Boundary or party wall disputes

A typical example would be a shared boundary where a new extension overhangs or encroaches onto neighbouring land. The planning service does not police private development to this extent and cannot become involved in covenant or deed disputes. We recommend that you take further advice, perhaps in the first instance from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Obstruction of the highway

Typically this problem would relate to a shared driveway or private access. Obstruction of a public highway is a breach of The Road Traffic Act (1988), this is a matter which must be dealt with by the police. For more information please get in touch with the Metropolitan Police.


The impact of development upon a neighbours light is always considered when determining planning applications, and there are guidelines and rules that are used to judge the impact of proposals upon neighbouring properties. The 'Right-to-Light' legislation dates back to 1832, and there are many misconceptions around this ancient area of English law. Above all it must be noted that planning law is separate from Right-to-Light law, therefore, legal advice should be sought, before contacting the Council.

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