Certificate of Lawfulness application approved for 10 flats in Harrow, London

10flatsThis week Plainview Planning has obtained approval for the conversion of a building into 10 residential flats, in the London Borough of Harrow.

The challenge:

The flats had been converted without planning permission a number of years previously. However, unauthorised flat conversions can potentially take advantage of the “four year rule” as long as sufficient evidence can be provided to demonstrate that, on the balance of probability, the dwellings have been in their current use for at least four years prior to the date of the application. We submitted a Certificate of Lawfulness for an existing use, to help our client regularise the conversion.

The solution:

Whilst the burden of proof is on the applicant, we worked with our client to formulate a robust case for the certificate and gathered evidence to prove continuous residential occupation of the 10 flats for over four years.  As part of our evidence base we also submitted relevant planning case law which further strengthened our client’s position. The collated evidence included a sworn statutory declaration, council records, and tenancy agreements.

We engaged pro-actively with the council to ensure that they had access to all the required information.  The evidence we provided went beyond what is compulsory to meet the “balance of probability” test. As Harrow Council could not prove events occurred contrary to what was stated within the application, there was no reason for them to refuse it and the certificate was granted, securing the future of the 10 flats.

Plainview Planning is an independent town and country planning consultancy. Our planning consultants have a breadth of experience and specialise in planning applications and appeals, changes of use, enforcement, and self-build projects. If you feel your scheme would benefit from professional planning consultant input, then contact our knowledgeable and approachable team who will be pleased to assist