Lawful Development Certificate for change of use

Our client had received an enforcement letter regarding the unauthorised change of use of an outbuilding which had been originally built in accordance with the dimensional requirements of part 1, Class E permitted development rights and used as a storage building incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling house. Subsequently the outbuilding had to be converted into an ancillary residential granny annexe after some time due to family circumstances.

We liaised directly with the Council Enforcement Team to ensure we had enough time to prepare a certificate of lawfulness application before any formal enforcement action was taken.

We were able to prove that the building was built lawfully under permitted development rights, and used for an incidental purpose before the required conversion into ancillary accommodation.

After reviewing some extensive planning case law, it was determined that an existing building which does not of itself constitute any new primary use can be used for a residential purpose if it remains within and part of the same residential planning unit; and therefore would not require planning permission.

It is clear there has been no division of the planning unit, this was supported because;

  • There is no separate curtilage;
  • There is no separate access to the rear garden;
  • There are no separate utility meters;
  • There is no separate address;
  • The conversion of the building was necessary to accommodate a family member.

On the balance of probabilities the use was lawful and the certificate granted.

If you have issues with Certificates of Lawfulness feel free to contact our planning experts for advice.