Applying for a Lawful Development Certificate (LDC) will ensure that your existing use of a building is lawful for planning purposes OR that your proposed development does not requite further planning permissions. This certificate will ease any uncertainty regarding whether a proposed or existing development is lawful. This confirmation will provide you a peace of mind and protect you from troubles with the enforcement.
There are two types of LDC’s for either:
- An existing land/development
- A proposed use of building/land
You can qualify for an LDC for your existing land/development provided you can:
- the land has been in continuous use (other than as a dwelling) for more than 10 years
- a condition or limitation on planning permission has not been complied with for more than 10 years
- the building was completed more than 4 years ago and has been used as a dwelling for more than 4 years.
How do you get it & what does it mean?
Anyone can apply for it to the local planning authority with the intention to obtain a decision on whether a proposed or existing use of land/development is lawful or not. Generally, if the local authority is satisfied that their criteria had been met, then the applicant will be granted an LDC.
As briefly mentioned previously, acquiring an LDC means that no enforcement action can be taken against you and no planning permission is required. Essentially, it proves to future buyers and your local authority that your project was lawful at the time of execution.
Application and decision procedure
The applicant can find the information on the content of application and how it must be submitted in Article 39 of the Town & Country Planning Order 2015. It specifies that the applications differ depending on the certificate you are trying to obtain, however, they must all be accompanied by sufficient information and evidence for your local planning authority to review. Alongside this, you will be expected to pay a relevant application fee. You can get this form from the local planning authority, and it can be completed by the applicant or someone working on their behalf.
This application must describe in detail what is being applied for and clearly state the land to which the application relates. Failing to do this can placed you at a disadvantage, allowing the local authority to have the right to refuse the certification. It is the applicant’s responsibility to provide sufficient information to support an application. However, the local authority is expected to co-operate with an applicant who is seeking information. Furthermore, if the local planning authority obtains evidence, this needs to be shared with the applicant. This ensures that the applicant has the opportunity to discuss and comment on it, possibly providing counter evidence. Remember: it is ALWAYS the applicant’s responsibility to convince the local authority that a certificate should be issued.
Should the local authority refuse the provision of the LDC, the applicant has the right to appeal and provide further required information and evidence to prove themselves and their use of development/land to be lawful.
Examples of evidence that the applicant should present with their local planning authority include but is not limited to:
- photographs (google images or personal photos)
- Invoices/documents indicating how long the development has been on existence (for existing LDC).
- Copies of rent/accounts documentation
- Statutory declarations (formal document made affirming that something is true to the best knowledge: for instance, from residents or other owners).
Therefore, in order to ensure that you are protected from any unlawful issues, contact your local planning authority and research into the lawful development certification. If you have any further questions, contact us at email@example.com.