Case Study : CoL and enforcement

BRIEF

Plainview Planning was instructed to rectify a serious breach of planning control at a Grade I listed property.

KEY ISSUES

Change of Use; Appraisal and Strategy; Planning Application; Specialist Reports; Listed Building; Enforcement; London.

LPA

City of Westminster

CHALLENGES

Planning permission had been granted in 1996 for the continued use of a premises in Southwark as a mosque. However a condition had been attached to the planning permission which restricted the times of use. The permitted hours did not allow for the standard prayer timetable of Islamic worship.

Therefore the mosque had been in use outside the permitted opening hours for over 10 years, and had been using amplification equipment during these times. It had been identified that the mosque was in breach of a condition on its planning permission.

The mosque responded swiftly and sought our assistance to regularise the situation.

SOLUTION

Due to the longevity of the breach, a certificate of lawfulness could be applied for. We gathered evidence to show that the centre had been operating outside of its permitted hours for over ten years, we did the same with evidence to prove the use of the amplification equipment.

We advised our client on the type of evidence required to submit a Certificate of Lawfulness which included affidavits from members of the congregation and evidence of the mosque’s marketing for their opening hours and times for prayer.

We reviewed and presented the evidence along with a robust planning statement and relevant case law.

The relevant test of the evidence in these types of matters is "the balance of probability". We argued that the evidence presented was far in excess of what is required by this test and that it showed that the building is immune from enforcement by virtue of subsection 3 of Section 171B of the Act.

The council agreed that the breaches of planning permission were considered to be lawful because on the balance of probability it had been breached in excess of ten years, making it immune from planning enforcement.