Application for a certificate of lawfulness for use of an outbuilding as a separate dwelling

Application Granted (Lawful Development Certificate Issued) on 1 December 2022

sefton council planning

29 Poulton Road

Council: Sefton Council

Back in 2003, Phil converted a large workshop to the back of his house into a residential annexe. He got planning permission to use the annexe as living accommodation for members of his family, but there was a condition on the approval that it could not be used as an entirely separate dwelling.

Over the years, his circumstances changed. For a while, he lived in the annexe himself, and rented out the main house. At other times, the annexe was rented out.

This meant that the annexe was being used as a dwelling separate to the main house, which was a change of use in breach of the planning condition and needing planning permission.

The council’s planning enforcement team started an investigation and Phil came to Just Planning for help.

We applied for a certificate of lawfulness (also known as a lawful development certificate) under the 4 year rule (that the creation of a new dwelling is immune from enforcement action, and therefore lawful in planning terms, after 4 years). We gathered together a lot of evidence of the use over the years and quoted all the relevant case law.

We struck a hurdle when the council refused our first application on the basis that the change of use fell under the 10 year rule (for breach of condition) rather than the 4 year rule. We took legal advice and determined that the council’s view was flawed and resubmitted our application with some additional case law.

We were delighted when the application was approved and the annexe was saved.

If you are facing enforcement action, please contact our planners for help and advice. The easiest way to reach us is by email:

“Thanks so much, we got there in the end! I get the impression they really didn’t want to grant this possibly because it will lead to other claims, but well done on this initial application, finding the case and submitting the appeal, you really have gone above and beyond!”

Phil Todd

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