Planning & Design have successfully secured a Certificate of Lawful Use for a garden at a property in Idridgehay. The circumstances were unusual, the applicants had purchased a property with the belief that the small parcels of land to the front and side of the property was its garden. The property did not have a rear garden, as it was divided off from a former farmstead and was positioned against a rear boundary hedge. However, upon seeking planning permission for a householder extension, the applicants were told by the Council that these areas of land were not in fact garden but agricultural land, and that by maintaining it as a garden with sheds and paving on the land, this was a breach of Planning Legislation and enforcement action was threatened.
If the applicants accepted the Council’s view, the property would have only had a very small front garden, no rear garden at all, and with a random parcel of agricultural land attached to it at the side. However, if it can be proven ‘on the balance of probability’ that land has been used in a certain way for at least 10 years, that use becomes lawful and immune from enforcement. A Certificate of Lawful Use can be applied for on this basis, and this is where Planning & Design were instructed by the applicants to get involved; however there had to be a sufficient amount of evidence that the land had been in use as a garden for 10 years.
The applicant had already applied for a Certificate of Lawful Use which the Council initially refused. However, after reading the Council’s report there were some inconsistencies with their argument which we were able to challenge. In order to compile enough evidence to represent 10 years’ worth of use, this included speaking to the previous owners, obtaining sworn affidavits, gathering historic records and investigating past planning applications on the site. Aerial imagery makes this task much easier these days, however publicly available satellite images have only become clear in the last 3 or 4 years in some areas, and we had to prove that it had been used consistently for 10 years as a garden.
Although the Council were reluctant to support the Lawful Use from the start, we managed to compile enough evidence to satisfy the test that ‘on the balance of probability’ the land had been used as garden for a continuous period of 10 years. As such, a Certificate of Lawful Use was granted, meaning the applicants could continue to use their garden as a garden, and no enforcement action was taken.
If you have any issues relating to enforcement or concerns over whether your development or use of land was ever permitted in the first place, please get in touch and we may be able to help.
© 2017 Planning and Design Practice Ltd. All rights reserved.
Website by Frogspark