Have you rung the Planning Department to ask whether your proposed conservatory requires planning permission to be told that no firm opinions are given informally any more?  Indeed, a planning officer’s opinion isn’t worth the piece of paper it is written on!

This is where the Certificate of Lawful Development comes into play.Certificates of Lawful Use or Development are certificates issued by the Council, which establish that the use or development of land is lawful in two circumstances:

(a) Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Use or Development – where you wish to confirm that any existing use, or operation, or activity in breach of a condition or limitation on a planning permission that has already taken place is lawful on the date specified in the application. It is defined as being lawful if enforcement action cannot be taken against it. This may be because it had, or did not need planning permission, or it may be the case that the use or operation took place so long ago that the time for enforcement action has expired;

(b) Certificate of Lawfulness of Proposed Use or Development – where you wish to confirm that what you are proposing would be lawful i.e. it would not require express planning permission. For example you may need to establish that what you have proposed does not constitute development, is ‘permitted development’, or already has planning permission.

There are benefits in gaining a Certificate of Lawful Use or Development. It is a determination that has legal status providing certainty to prospective developers and purchasers of land and buildings. Certificates of Lawful Use or Development will be particularly beneficial to those participating in the housing market. Solicitors representing purchasers of, for example, extended dwellings, will usually require documentary evidence that extensions such as conservatories are lawful. This evidence may assist with the sale of property. Certificates of Lawful Use or Development also provide the necessary evidence that any works being undertaken are lawful if, for example, a neighbour were to make an enquiry or complaint about the work.

c2c Planning Consultants Ltd can help with the submission of such applications and deal with any appeal arising from the refusal of such a Certificate.