Enforcement Appeal

Appeal Ref: APP/P1805/C/10/2138964 & 2138965

On 14 October 2010, a client from Bromsgrove approached Planning Appeals Limited / The Planning Group Ltd following the issue of an Enforcement Notice from Bromsgrove District Council. The Enforcement Notice stated that our client had, “without planning permission, changed the use of the site from residential use to a mixed use for residential and the carrying on of a business”.

This was an urgent case as the clients were worried that the Enforcement Notice would prevent them from carrying on their business and they would lose their income. They had recently taken up working from home full time and this had upset their neighbours who had complained to the Council, resulting in the enforcement action being taken.

Alan Barker, Dip T.P, MRTPI, was assigned to the case and he scrutinised the Enforcement Notice. The grounds of Planning Appeal’s case were that there had not been a breach of planning control as in 2005 the clients had successfully sought and obtained a Certificate of lawfulness of existing use or development (CLEUD). The Certificate of Lawfulness had not conditioned the use of the garage for the business use. Whilst the business had intensified, our clients had not actually breached their Certificate.

The Inspector found that the Enforcement Notice should be quashed on 6 July 2011. He quoted in his Decision Notice, “Section 191 (6) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 states that the lawfulness of any use, operations or other matter for which a certificate is in force under this section shall be conclusively presumed”

He went on to state that, “If a certificate is not drawn with care and expressly limited to the precise use in question, then its issue can lead to the consequence that the authority may, through its own act, find itself thereafter precluded from preventing a use for which planning permission would not have been granted simply because the certificate had been issued in terms wider than were necessary”.

On inspecting the case, Martin Parrish MD, decided that a Costs Application was called for as he considered that Bromsgrove District Council had acted unreasonably by issuing an Enforcement Notice against a Certificate of lawfulness that had already been granted. The Inspector awarded full costs against the Council for the reasons stated above.