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Certificate of Lawfulness - Existing Use or Development


Click here for information on ‘Certificate of Lawfulness Of Proposed Use or Development (CLOPUD)’.


What is a Certificate of Lawfulness Existing Use or Development (CLEUD)?

A Certificate of Lawfulness Existing Use or Development (CLEUD) is a certificate issued by your Local Planning Authority (LPA) which confirms that a building or use of land is lawful. Importantly, this will provide immunity from planning enforcement.

A CLEUD can be applied for in response to planning enforcement action by the LPA where the owner believes development is immune from action because the time limit for taking enforcement action has passed.

Commonly, when selling property, CLEUD’s are sought to provide assurance to a prospective owner that no enforcement action can be taken by the LPA against extensions or uses which do not benefit from planning permission. Lenders typically require this in order to release monies.

certificate of lawfulness existing use or development
What time-scales apply for a CLEUD?

Under the General Development Procedure Order 1995 (As Amended) LPA’s are required to issue enforcement proceedings against breaches of planning control within certain timescales depending on the nature of the breach. Breaches must be continuous and current in order to qualify for a CLEUD.

The following timescales apply:

  • Four years for the erection of buildings or structures
  • Four years for the change of use of a building to a single dwelling
  • Ten years for the change of use (building or land) to any use other than a single dwelling.

Provided the above timescales have passed you are entitled to legitimise the development with respect to planning by seeking a CLEUD from the LPA.

Examples of where the ten year rule applies include:

  • Occupying an agricultural dwelling for non-agricultural purposes where the property has an agricultural occupancy condition attached to the original planning permission; and
  • Occupying a caravan or mobile home

When making a CLEUD it is important to make sure that the above timescales have been passed to ensure a successful application and avoids the potential for enforcement action by the LPA. The 10 year period runs from the date the breach of planning control was committed

What factors are considered by the LPA when making an application for a CLUED?

Your LPA will determine the application based on the factual evidence you provide. The onus is on the applicant to demonstrate the breach has been in existence for the required time-scales.

Unlike planning applications LPA’s are required to determine if, on the balance of probability, your application complies with the relevant time periods.

Evidence can include the following:

  • Statutory Declarations (to be signed in the presence of a solicitor)
  • Photographs (Dated or date referenced)
  • Utility bills
  • Accounts
  • Receipts for materials or services
  • Leases and tenancy agreements
  • Council tax records
  • Electoral Roll records
The right to Appeal?

If your CLUED has been refused you have the right to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. There is no time limit for making such an appeal although appealing against non-determination can only be done after 8 weeks from the date the application was registered by the LPA.

Professional Advice

Whilst CLUED’s can be a good way to ensure immunity from planning enforcement they are not the only option available, particularly if it is not possible to provide sufficient evidence. In such cases, a retrospective change of use application may be more appropriate.

One Planning can provide expert planning advice with respect to assessing your individual case and pursuing the best strategy for you.

Click here for information on ‘Certificate of Lawfulness Of Proposed Use or Development (CLOPUD)’.

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