Read this story to find out why we always recommend applying for a Lawful Development Certificate prior to exercising your permitted development rights.

One very unfortunate former client of ours got in touch with Planning Direct after experiencing problems in respect of their recently constructed domestic garage. 

Our client had contacted their local council prior to constructing the garage and was informed by the Duty Planning Officer that – provided it adopted a certain size and position – it was a permitted development and there was no need to apply for planning permission.

Trying to do everything “by the book”, our client then sought the written consent of the site’s freeholder. Once this was received, the garage was built to the size and position advised by the council. 

A neighbour then complained to the council who visited the site and concluded that the garage was not, in fact, a permitted development.

It turned out that our client lived in a flat and the council had not fully grasped this when they advised the garage was a permitted development and no permission was required for it. As our former client has since learnt, flats have no permitted development rights at all.

Unfortunately, it did not matter that the garage had only been built on the council’s faulty advice. Rightly or wrongly, the responsibility to ensure that a development is lawful always lies firmly with the developer. 

Consequently, retrospective planning permission was required for the garage. If this were not granted, the garage would need to be demolished. Our client instructed a local architect to submit a retrospective planning application to the council on their behalf. The application was refused by the council, at which point our client reached out to Planning Direct. 

Planning Direct then submitted an appeal against the council’s refusal of their retrospective application. Fortunately, the appeal was successful and our client was able to keep their garage in the end.

However, they spent a lot of unnecessary time and money getting there. The stress, frustration and uncertainty they experienced over the 12-month wait between the garage’s construction and its ultimate approval (on appeal) was acute and relationships with their neighbours were irreparable. Our client regretted that they had followed the council’s informal advice instead of making a formal application for a Lawful Development Certificate in the first instance. 

Click the button below to find out more about the benefits of applying for a Lawful Development Certificate before you construct a permitted development.

Already made up your mind? Click the button below to find out more about submitting an application for a Lawful Development Certificate.

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