Certificates Of Lawful Existing Use Or Development (CLEUDs)

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CLEUDs -What Are They?
When development has taken place without planning permission the Local Planning Authority has the power to enforce against it, normally with the requirement to cease the operation or remove the structure in question. However, where the breach has taken place for a number of years it can be exempt from enforcement.

Use of Buildings
A certificate could be sought if a change of use had been carried out continuously for ten years without the necessary planning permission, a good example being the use of an agricultural building for non agricultural purposes such as equestrian.
It is also now possible to obtain a certificate even if the use changes over the ten year period as long as it remains within the same ‘use class’. This is particularly relevant to buildings within a farmstead where there can often be several tenants over the years.

Creation of a Dwelling
Converting a building into a dwelling is normally subject to a four year rule but your rights against enforcement can be affected if for example you have deliberately concealed your development. Legislation has allowed Local Authorities to take such cases to the Courts although recent cases have deemed this not necessary based on legal precedents such as in the Welwyn Hatfield Council v SoSCLG and Beesley case.

Breach of Condition
This can cover a wide variety of areas, for example, failing to comply with operational timelimits, exceeding permitted numbers or breaching an occupancy condition. The time required in the case of breaching conditions is ten years. Care needs to be taken with temporary consents as the permission may no longer exist.

Why Bother?
A CLEUD is, in most cases, the same as obtaining planning permission; it ‘locks in’ the use. Therefore acertificate clearly has an implication on value.

What do I Need?
Applications for CLEUDs are judged on facts not opinions, you must prove on the balance of probability that the breach has occurred continuously. Evidence is therefore crucial and timing is also important. As paperwork can be lost over time or key witnesses disappear, keeping good records/collating evidence are clearly helpful should a case present itself in the future.

Acorus consultants are experienced in identifying what is required and will ensure your case is the best possible. Speculation or poorly prepared CLEUD applications are rarely successful and could lead to enforcement action to remedy the breach.