Fuller Long has successfully applied for a Lawful Development Certificate (LDC) for an existing business in Guildford.

Our client approached us after deciding to sell their business, only to discover that the use of the site as a day nursery was never granted planning permission. Our client therefore needed assistance in regularising the situation. In order to achieve this, we advised that a lawful development certificate (LDC) should be sought.

A Certificate of Lawfulness allows a person to ascertain if any existing use of a building is lawful. Section 191 of the 1990 Act states that uses and operations are lawful at any time if “no enforcement action may then be taken in respect of them, whether because they did not involve development or require planning permission or because the time for taking enforcement action has expired or for any other reason”. In order to be considered lawful it must be demonstrated that no enforcement action may be taken by reason that this use has been on-going for a period of at least ten years prior to the date of the application, or that no enforcement action may be taken in respect of the use for any other reason.

In respect of this type of application, the National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) sets out that “if a local planning authority has no evidence itself, nor any from others, to contradict or otherwise make the applicant’s version of events less than probable, there is no good reason to refuse the application, provided the applicant’s evidence alone is sufficiently precise and unambiguous to justify the grant of a certificate on the balance of probability.”

The building was previously used as a Working Man’s Club, but there was no recent planning history for the premises. The applicant took over the Day Nursery in 2002 from a previous company running a Day Nursery business from the premises. In order to successfully obtain an LDC for the change of use, Fuller Long needed to demonstrate 10 years of continued use as a nursery with no material breaks in operation. Fuller Long were able to prove this through various means. As a result, the LDC was swiftly granted, which pleased our client greatly.

Fuller Long’s assistance on this case is a prime example of the imperative of using experienced planning consultants in order to guide and support you through an otherwise arduous and painstakingly long process.

To discuss issues regarding a Lawful Development Certificate with one of our experienced team of consultants, please call us on 0808 164 1288 for a no obligation conversation or email us at hello@fullerlong.com