Lawful Development Certificate (existing and proposed) for developments and use.

The Certificate of Lawful Use (Existing or Proposed) is a useful formal tool to prove that the use or construction works etc are lawful and/ or do not require planning permission. At Plande we are fully up-to-date with the current regulations and planning contexts and can advise fully on all matters relating to permitted development and Lawful Development Certificate applications and permissions.

Depending upon the requirements of our clients and the specific nature of the proposals or context, we are able to ensure that schemes can be designed within the permitted development regulations and seek confirmation from the Local Planning Authorities accordingly. The rules in England and Wales are currently different further confusing the issues and making it even harder for non-planning professionals to be sure of the situation.

As RTPI Chartered Town Planners we are best placed to assist with any matters relating to permitted development or the obtaining of a certificate of lawfulness. Please contact us for more information.

Lawful Development Certificate Existing Proposed Use

The following case studies provide a small sample of the different types of Lawful Development Certificate applications we have been involved with.

Certificate of Lawfulness for Annex Development and Use

Certificate of Lawful Existing Use as a self contained dwelling, Stretford, Greater Manchester.

Our clients had obtained planning approval for a change of use of a garage into a Granny Annex.

During construction works the existing garage was demolished and the new building was constructed in a different location to the approved drawings, meaning in effect all works were unlawful and no planning approval existed. The building also didn’t comply with several planning conditions including the limitation of the use a Granny Annex. We successfully argued, via a Lawful Development Certificate, not only, for the retention of the unlawful building but to allow for the building to be allowed to continue to be a self contained dwelling.

NB. A robust justification with appropriate evidence is required to prove “on the balance of probabilities”.

Local Planning Authority: Trafford Council

Lawful Development Certificate Apartments

Certificate of Lawful Existing Use, Bury, Greater Manchester.

The site had received planning approval in 1979 for over 140 apartments in several blocks. Research and analysis of the site suggested that various works had commenced at the time. A Lawful Development Certificate application was submitted and was successful determined.

Whilst there were several conditions on the original approval that required discharging, we successfully argued that these did not go “to the heart of the permission” and therefore did not prevent a lawful start on site.

Local Planning Authority: Bury Council

Lawful Development Certificate Annex Use

Certificate of Lawfulness for detached annex structure outside of the settlement boundary, Flintshire

Our clients required additional living accommodation to house elderly parents. Having previously and substantially extended their property it was unlikely that Flintshire County Council would grant approval for additional extensions.

We sought clarification from the Council, via a Lawful Development Certificate, that a detached structure, providing the necessary accommodation, would be lawful without seeking planning approval. Following protracted negotiations and discussions with the Council, which included them seeking additional assistance from a specialist Barrister, we obtained confirmation that a detached structure would be acceptable, the siting was within the residential curtilage, and the proposed use of that structure would not constitute a material change of use of the land and would be incidental to the main dwelling house.

Local Planning Authority: Flintshire County Council

Certificate of Lawfulness for Apartments Development

Lawful Development Certificate for 24 apartments on Brownfield site.

A development of 24 apartments, originally forming part of a larger scheme approved in 1977. We managed to proved that the original scheme had been implemented and therefore this scheme was still able to be implemented. Minor amendments were made to update external appearance to the block of flats.

Local Planning Authority: Bury Council

Certificate of Lawfulness for House Extensions

Lawful Development Certificate for permitted development extensions

We have obtained numerous Lawful Development Certificates for residential permitted development house extensions, including loft conversions and green belt extensions.

Please see the dedicated Permitted Development case studies for more information.

Lawful Development Certificate for residential housing estate

Lawful Development Certificate for 28 Houses in Stockport

Dating back over 30 years we proved, via a Lawful Development Certificate that the residential housing estate, comprising 28 homes, had been lawfully implemented and could be still be constructed, significantly raising the value of the landowner’s site.




more projects added soon.



more projects added soon.

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This page provides an introduction only and is not a definitive statement of the law and should therefore not be relied upon.
The information above relates to England only. Policies across the rest of the UK may differ.
Contact your Local Planning Authority for advice and confirmation before any works are carried out.