Enforcement Matters and Certificates of Lawful Use

We have increasingly become involved in these matters either before a Council has served an enforcement notice and is threatening to do so or after through the lodging of a planning appeal. This is a complex area of planning law and there are situations where it might be possible to obtain a certificate of lawful use due to the fact that the building or use has been in place for a certain number of years without the Council taking action. In such cases, if the time period is long enough and there is sufficient proof then we recommend the submission of applications for certificates of lawful use, an area which we are very familiar and where we have a strong legal back up if it were needed.

Certificates of lawful use do not always arise from an enforcement situation. Some developments have gained permission by default over a passage of time such as the small former railway carriage which a client of mine occupied residentially since the late 1940s and in respect of which we obtained a certificate of lawful use. The property was subsequently sold for a significant amount and the new owner sought to replace the existing ‘caravan’ with a new enormous static caravan because of the certificate of lawful use this new static home did not require planning permission much to the disappointment of the local planning authority.

If you feel you may have established a use over time we will gladly investigate the matter and look into the history and advise.

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