Owners and occupiers of land (and buildings) generally need planning permission to make the use lawful. If, however, a use has been carried on without a break for over ten years it no longer needs planning permission and is lawful. In order to protect the landowner (and the occupier) against enforcement action by the Council it is advisable to regularise the use by applying for a lawful development certificate (sometimes known as a CLEUD). A similar situation arises where building or engineering operations have taken place (or where the use is as a single dwelling-house) but in those cases the relevant period is only four years, not ten.
Our team advises businesses, individuals and local planning authorities on this highly technical area. Applications for LDCs are decided on the basis of evidence. That evidence is generally assessed by the Council’s planning and legal departments.
If you think you are entitled to a LDC (or if the Council is taking enforcement action against you) you need to take specialist legal advice from someone well-versed in this highly technical area; someone who is used to dealing with local Councils and understands the requirements.
If you are a local authority with a difficult case and not enough time and resources in-house to deal with it, we can also help.
Members of our team have, between them, acted for several Councils in Suffolk, Essex and also in London.
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