Section 191(2) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 says that, if a new dwelling is created without planning permission, no planning enforcement action can be taken after a period of 4 years. This is known as the 4 year rule.
In this case, our client had applied for a lawful development certificate to show that an outbuilding to the rear of his house had been in use as a separate dwelling for at least four years and was therefore lawful.
The council had refused to issue to a certificate and we recommended to the client that an appeal be submitted. We worked with him to firm up the evidence and to prepare a detailed supporting statement showing that the evidence was robust.
We were delighted when the inspector agreed that we had shown on the balance of probabilities that the outbuilding had been in use as a separate dwelling for a continuous period of at least 4 years and was now lawful.
If you are facing similar difficulties, please do not hesitate to contact us for some planning advice!