Communicating the South Downs


Some people find the idea of a website storing information on their computer or mobile device a bit intrusive, particularly when this information is stored and used by a third party without them knowing. Although this is generally quite harmless you may not, for example, want to see advertising that has been targeted to your interests. If you prefer, it is possible to block some or all cookies, or even to delete cookies that have already been set; but you need to be aware that you might lose some functions of that website.


Making a complaint

Please report unauthorised works or activities using our online form. The more information you are able to give and the more effective our investigation will be. This includes:

  • a description of the possible breach
  • the date the activity started, is it happening now, is it getting worse?
  • the site address (if it is a field, describe the surrounding area to help identify the exact site)
  • the name, address and telephone number of the site owner/occupier/builder/agent
  • the description of the ‘harm’ being caused e.g. noise, traffic, smells
  • your name, address and telephone number

We may need to contact you for further information and would like to let you know the outcome of your complaint.

Investigations can be lengthy and complex. The time needed to determine each case will vary depending on the site, the people involved and the type of breach.

On receipt of an alleged breach, the enforcement team will aim to:

  • Register and acknowledge your complaint within 5 working days
  • Carry out the initial site visit for Priority 1 cases within 1 working day.
  • Carry out the initial site visit for Priority 2 cases within 10 working days.
  • Carry out the initial site visit for priority cases within 15 working days.

We will let you know when a case has been closed and what the outcome was. In more complex investigations we will update you at key stages.


All investigations are dealt with in the strictest confidence and details of the person reporting will not be made known without their agreement. However, the nature of the alleged breach is not confidential.

Complaints against you

You have a right to know about any allegations of planning control breaches made against you but not who made the complaint. Wherever possible we will try to remedy breaches through negotiation and we will ask for your co-operation to do this and allow you a reasonable period of time to do this. In most cases we will invite you to submit a retrospective planning application however if the breach is causing serious harm we will take formal action straight away.

Who to complain to

We are responsible for planning within the National Park and have agreed unique partnerships with the Local Authorities operating within the National Park boundaries. For five of these we deal directly with enforcement. The other nine authorities deal with enforcement issues on our behalf.

Find out which authority will deal with your enforcement complaint.

For enforcement complaints in areas covered by the South Downs National Park Authority please complete this online form to report an activity which you believe to be unauthorised.