Other Certificates of Lawful Use
Any breach of a planning condition; or breach of planning control involving a use of land or the development of land without the benefit of planning permission - can be enforced against by the Local Authority. However, enforcement action is subject to time limits – once ‘timed out’, a Certificate of Lawful Existing Use or Development can be sought.
A breach of condition, including the breach of an agricultural occupancy condition, is subject to the 10 year time-limit, as are most changes of use of land. If the Local Authority has not taken enforcement action within this time frame, they are generally no longer able to do so as they have missed their opportunity.
Operational development and, interestingly, the change of use of a building or part of a building to use as one or more dwellinghouses is subject to the 4 year time-limit. This can become extremely interesting in relation to agricultural occupancy conditions or where a dwelling has been built without the benefit of Planning Permission.
Consequently, it is important to look closely at the planning history of the property to see what should have been built, what was built and what changes may have taken place since.
It is particularly important to note that following the introduction of the Localism Act and Common Law principles, if deliberate concealment of a breach of planning control has taken place, the Local Planning Authority may still be able to take enforcement action, even after the normal four or ten year time-limit has passed.