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Certificate of Lawfulness


A certificate of lawfulness can be used to apply for formal approval of proposed householder development (such as extensions, garages, outbuildings, etc) that do not require planning permission or for approval of an existing use of land, or some operational development, or some activity in breach of a planning condition, to determine if it is lawful.

An application for a Lawful Development Certificate form should be used to establish whether:

  • An existing use of land, or a building, or an activity in breach of a planning condition, is lawful.
  • A proposed use of buildings or other land, or building operation proposed to be carried out in, on, over, or under land, would require express planning permission.

Examples when an application for a Lawful Development Certificate should be made include:

  • Certificate of Lawful Existing Use or Development (CLEUD) - A certificate to prove a development is immune from action because the time limit for taking enforcement action has passed.   (See below.)
  • Certificate of Lawfulness of Proposed Use or Development (CLOPUD) - When a developer requires formal assurance that development is permitted development, i.e. does not require planning consent.
  • Certificate of Lawfulness of Proposed Works to a Listed Building - should be used to establish whether proposed works to a listed building would be lawful i.e. they would not affect the character of the listed building as a building of special architectural or historic interest and therefore, would not require listed building consent. NB: Applications for Certificates of Lawfulness of Proposed Works cannot be submitted in respect of works which have already been carried out.

An application for a Lawful Development Certificate is also sometimes used in cases involving intensification of use or where the precise nature of the existing use is difficult to describe, such as:

  • Secondary uses
  • Mixed uses
  • Intensification
  • Sub-division of the planning unit

Certificate of Lawfulness Applications Fees

Proposed Works to a Listed Building

No fee

Proposed Use

The fee is half the equivalent of a planning application. 

For example, for proposed alterations or extensions to a dwelling, the fee is £172, so half of the fee will be £86.

Existing Use - lawful not to comply with a particular condition

£195

Existing Use - in breach of a planning condition

The fee is the equivalent of a planning application.

For example, where the erection of a dwelling has taken place without planning permission, the fee is £385, and for alterations or extensions to a dwelling without planning permission, the fee is £172.

 

Time limits

The Planning and Compensation Act 1991 introduced rolling time limits within which local planning authorities can take planning enforcement action against breaches of planning control.

The time limits are:

  • Four years for building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land, without planning permission. This development becomes immune from enforcement action four years after the operations are substantially completed without any enforcement action being taken..
  • Four years for the change of use of a building, or part of a building, to use as a single dwelling house. Enforcement action can no longer be taken once the unauthorised use has continued for four years without any enforcement action being taken.
  • 10 years for all other development without any enforcement action being taken (including unauthorised uses and the contravention of planning conditions). The 10 year period runs from the date the breach of planning control was committed.

Once these time limits have passed, the development becomes lawful, in terms of planning. This will need proof in such forms as for instance a sworn affidavit or utility bills etc.

If you are in doubt as to whether or not your development is applicable to be assessed under a Lawful Development Certificate, or consent is required for a particular building operation or use of land or is immune from enforcement notice proceeding please ring Sedgemoor Direct on 0300 303 7805 and ask for the Planning Duty Officer (available 9:00am to 1:00pm).

Application Forms

Guidance Notes

Validation Checklist

Planning charges: copying, research and invoicing, and planning application fees [150.03KB] Local Validation Checklist [958KB] Interactive Mapping Online Planning Portal