Lawful Development Certificate - Existing Use or Development

An application for a Lawful Development Certificate (Existing) form should be used to establish whether an existing use of land, or some operational development, or some activity in breach of a planning condition, is lawful even though it did not have planning permission.

Examples when an application for a Lawful Development Certificate (Existing) should be made include:

  • when planning enforcement action is taken by the local planning authority and the owner believes it is immune from action because the time limit for taking enforcement action has passed;
  • when an owner discovers, in the course of a sale of the land, that planning permission has never been granted, and needs to show a prospective purchaser that no enforcement action can be taken by the local planning authority.

Guidance notes

What you need to submit

The list below details supporting documents that may need to be submitted as part of your application. Please refer to each section below in order to determine whether or not you need to submit it as part of your application.

When is it required?

Always required.

A completed form is always required (one copy of all application documents must be supplied if submitted by post).

What is required?

Please ensure that you have completed every section of the application form before submitting. Where sections or questions are not relevant please state this on the form.

Source, policies and references

National validation requirement.

What is required?

This must be an up-to-date Ordnance Survey-based location plan at an appropriate scale, usually 1:1250 or 1:2500. In the case of large sites other scales may be appropriate.

The plan must show:

  • At least two named roads and all surrounding buildings or land (unless this would require a plan greater than a scale of 1:2500)
  • The application site (the whole planning unit)
  • A north point
  • The scale clearly identified

The plan used should:

  • Show OS Crown copyright
  • Not to be copied from existing OS mapping, if using hand drawn maps such as standard streets
  • Show the correct licence number if you wish to print or copy maps for applications

The application site boundary must be edged clearly with a red line. It should include all land necessary to carry out the proposed development - for example, land required for access to the site from a public highway, visibility splays, landscape, car parking and open areas around the building. A blue line should be drawn around any other land owned by the applicant, close to or adjoining the application site.

Source, policies and references

National validation requirement

When is it required?

Always required. 

What is required?

You should provide as much evidence as possible to corroborate the claim. This may include: 

  • Photographic evidence spanning the period of alleged lawful use; Sworn Affidavit(s)
  • Council tax/Business Rates payments
  • Employee salary slips
  • Accounts
  • Utilities bills
  • Invoices/payments
  • Rent books
  • Letters from neighbours

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