Not all development requires Planning Permission. Traditionally advice has been given by Development Control staff over the telephone or by letter confirming whether or not Planning Permission is required. This is not however a legal confirmation of a planning use. Government guidelines recommend that any development should have written confirmation that Planning Permission, if needed, was obtained or if Planning was not required, that this also should be confirmed.
The Government introduced a process called a Certificate of Lawfulness. This process can be used pre or post development to establish whether a change of use requires planning permission. This procedure follows a similar route to a full planning application, although in the case of proposed works the application is not advertised and there is no consultation with neighbouring properties. In the case where the development has already taken place, this is advertised and consultation with neighbouring properties is carried out. The main benefit of ensuring that you have either a Certificate of Lawfulness or Planning Permission should that be required, is when ownership of the property is transferred to another party through sale or remortgaging a property as it provides confirmation of the development's legality and protects against potential issues or enforcement action.
We understand the requirements of these types of application and will guide you through the system. Making an application you should note that a ‘Lawful Development Certificate’ will only confirm lawful development under Planning Legislation and not the Building Regulations.