If development has taken place without appropriate planning permission, or in breach of a condition it is often possible to regularise the works or use via a Certificate of Lawfulness which makes them legal in planning terms.
Sometimes development has already taken place without permission and we have worked with enforcement officers to apply for permission retrospectively to avoid enforcement action or apply for certificates of lawfulness if required.
The enforcement timescales for Councils are either four or ten years depending on the breach of planning control in question. We regularly prepare certificates of lawfulness and have regularised building works, changes of use and condition breaches through such a route. The onus of proof is on the applicant and we work with you to guide you as to the type of evidence that is required, ensure it is robustly presented and can also draft statutory declarations for signing as part of submission.
This can be a useful, cost effective, way to regularise planning breaches without the need for a full retrospective application which would be assessed against local planning policy. It can, depending on evidence, remove the risk of a formal application with often more subjective assessment elements.