The idea of ‘curtilage’ is an important one in planning.
It refers to the area of land immediately surrounding a building or structure, typically within the same property boundaries. It is the land that is closely associated with and used in connection with the main building, such as a garden.
Curtilage is often obvious – if you live in a terraced house with a front and rear garden, then that is all your curtilage.
However, if you live in a large manor house with hundreds of acres of land, only the land close to the house will be its curtilage, the rest will be land in your ownership but outside your curtilage.
Often it does not really matter either way, but it can sometimes be important. For example, most householder permitted development rights only apply within the curtilage. If you want to build a gym in a separate outbuilding in your garden, it must be within your curtilage, not on land that you own outside of it.
In this particular case, our client had a house that had been built following a grant of planning application that clearly showed the limits of her site curtilage. But she also owned other land immediately next to it. She wanted to extend to the side into that land but was told by the council that it was outside her curtilage.
She approached us for advice, and we recommended an application to establish that the land had actually been used as part of the garden for at least 10 years, and was therefore now an established part of the curtilage.
We provided evidence of ten years use of the land, including satellite images and evidence from neighbour and were delighted when the certificate was issued.
We do several applications a year to extend our clients’ residential curtilage – some are full planning applications and others are applications for certificates of lawfulness (as in this case). If you need some advice, please get in touch!