We were approached by a client in Chichester who was being threatened with prosecution for failing to comply with an enforcement notice.
The enforcement notice, issued in 1999, required the cessation of residential use at the property and the removal of related items (such as kitchen and bathroom). Our client had ceased the independent residential use, but had allowed the property to be used by her son. The Council considered our client to be in breach of the enforcement notice and were ready to prosecute.
To rectify the situation a Certificate of Lawfulness was submitted with a full and clear assessment of case law on the following points:
- The ancillary residential use is not in conflict with the live enforcement notice as the alleged use has ceased;
- The ancillary residential use does not constitute development as defined in section 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act. It is not operational development nor a material change of use;
- The ancillary residential use been in use for over 10 years and is immune from any new enforcement action, and is therefore lawful.
Calling upon the conclusions of Mansi, Swinbank and Duguid we constructed a robust argument that withstood intense scrutiny from Chichester’s legal department (the case took two years!).
The Certificate of Lawfulness was eventually granted, and our clients can now continue to live at the property safe from prosecution.
If you are faced with enforcement problems please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.