Our client approached us to regularise her residential occupation of a Public House despite the fact that the pub had not traded for 7+ years. We recommended a Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Use which required us to prove that the pub had been lived in exclusively and continuously for 4+ years.
Cherwell District Council (North Oxfordshire)
The presentation of evidence is vital in a case such as this. The burden of proof lies on the applicant, and the Council must be satisfied ‘on the balance of probabilities’ that the use has continued as applied for.
We collated and prepared documentary evidence as to the occupation. The documents included statutory declarations, bills, invoices, local news articles and photographs.
Initially the Council resisted the application, but we resubmitted with additional explanation as to the legal background of primary/ancillary uses within a single planning unit. We also touched on the issue of abandonment. The Council finally agreed with our interpretation and issued the Certificate. They considered the use lawful within the meaning of Section 191 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended).