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Case Study

Certificate of Lawfulness


8th March 2024
Local Planning Authority
High Peak Borough Council


Our client came to us looking to regularise the use of part of a rural site in his ownership that had been used for storing plants and materials in connection with his building company. The land had previously been in agricultural and equestrian use for many years.

Changes of use such as this often happen incrementally, with landowners often being unaware of the need to regularise what they are doing until the development comes to the attention of the planning authority. In this case, the land in question had belonged to a family member for many years, coming into the client’s ownership more recently.

Our role

Putting together a robust case in support of an application for a certificate of lawfulness can be tricky where the development doesn’t lend itself to ‘easy’ evidence. Historic aerial imagery can only show so much, for example, being a useful indicator of the age of a built structure, or as in this case, the creation of an area of hardstanding.

A site such as this where the use does not involve customers visiting the site, it is not the office address for the business, and it has grown in a piecemeal fashion over many years, and required:

Very careful, detailed plans covering which land and buildings could be agreed by all parties to have undertaken a change of use for a period in excess of 10 years.

A clear and precise, well-structured sworn declaration from the applicant backed up by as wide a range of other evidence and supporting letters as possible.

Careful negotiation was called for towards the end of the application process, working with the local authority to agree on the exact wording of the Certificate. The local authority and our client had to both be happy that the wording accurately reflected the situation on the site.

We are pleased to say that the certificate was issued.

Certificate of Lawfulness
The Rural Planning Practice

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