More than 800 claims of planning rules being breached were reported to Brighton and Hove City Council over the past year, councillors were told.
Some 37 per cent were deemed unfounded and 14 per cent were minor with no further action being taken.
The report, presented by Gerard McCormack of the council’s planning team, said that a firm but fair approach was taken to breaches of planning rules.
As a result, Mr McCormack said, the council had to resort to legal action in only a relatively small number of cases.
He said that from April last year until March this year 20 formal enforcement notices were issued.
Nine people were taken to court for breaching planning rules although only one person was prosecuted for failing to comply with an enforcement notice.
In the same year, ten people appealed to the government against enforcement notices.
They all lost.
Three notices were issued because of failure to comply with conditions of planning permission.
All related to Aldi’s store in Carlton Terrace, Portslade, and concerned delivery times, opening hours and failure to provide free parking.
Belmont Homes were prosecuted and fined £700 for failing to install the correct pathways at a development in New Church Road, Hove.
The Armani fish and chip shop in St James’s Street, Brighton, was taken to court for operating outside its authorised hours and fined £450.
Eleven formal notices were issued ordering people to tidy unsightly properties.
Mr McCormack said that similar action was planned to tackle tatty premises around Brighton Station.
Councillor Phelim MacCafferty, the chairman of the planning committee, said: “We will always strive to be fair where there are genuine gaps in people’s knowledge and they’ve made accidental breaches.
“Generally we seek to resolve problems without going to court.
“We try to make things clear at an early stage so individuals and developers know at an early stage what is expected of them.
“But where people who should know the rules flout them we will be very firm and prosecute where necessary.”
To read Mr McCormack’s report, click here.