We explain what Lawful Development Certificates are and how to submit an application.
A Lawful Development Certificate, often termed a Certificate of Lawfulness, is a legal document confirming that an existing or proposed development is lawful and doesn't require planning permission. The power to grant Lawful Development Certificates is conferred upon the Local Planning Authority by two sections of the Town and Country Planning Act (1990):
An application will need to be submitted to the Local Planning Authority outlining the existing or proposed use or development. If the LPA agree that the proposal doesn't require planning permission, they will issue you with a certificate confirming that.
An application will need to be submitted to the Local Planning Authority via the Planning Portal. You will need to submit a scaled plan outlining the site, together with a proportionate amount of supporting information to demonstrate the lawfulness of the proposal.
If necessary, you may need to submit detailed drawings (floor plans, elevations etc.) and/ or supporting documentation (a planning statement, photos, legal documents etc.). The level of information required will be dependent on the complexity of the case. You will be able to submit additional information during the determination of the application, so don't worry about submitting everything up front.
The fee for a Lawful Development Application will be dependent on the subject matter and the scale of the proposal. Detailed guidance is provided on the Planning Portal website (How much does a planning application cost). Generally, most applications are between £96 and £462.
The standard timescale for a Lawful Development Certificate application is between 4 and 8 weeks; however, many applications take longer if additional information is required. Ideally, you should submit all necessary information up front to avoid any delays. The Planning Officer may request additional information if they have any minor queries.
Please be aware, if the Local Planning Authority fails to make a determination during the 8 week period, that doesn't mean that you are automatically granted a Lawful Development Certificate.
If your Lawful Development Application is refused, that isn't necessarily confirmation that the proposal is unlawful; it may simply be that there isn't enough information to prove, beyond the balance of probabilities, the lawfulness of the proposal. The planning officer may, however, explain that they don't believe that the proposal is lawful and that it requires planning permission.
You have the right to submit a Planning Appeal against the refusal of a Lawful Development Certificate. You may also submit a new application with additional supporting information, or, alternatively, submit an amended proposal to overcome any shortcomings of the refused application.
We can prepare and submit a Lawful Development Certificate application on your behalf. Additionally, we can submit an appeal against a refused Lawful Development Certificate application.
Please get in contact if you have any questions.