“When a planning application is made, there is a requirement to describe details of the proposed development. This is an important step as it feeds through to the Local Planning Authority’s (LPA’s) decision notice and, if planning consent is granted, it will apply to the development as it has been described on the application form. It is common practice for LPAs to amend the description of the proposed development given on application forms for this reason”, says Mark Sanders of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.
“For some planning applications, it is not always simple or straightforward to provide a description that precisely fits what is proposed and, although the plans and other information submitted in support of a planning application can provide clarity if there is ever a question over exactly what has been approved, that is not always the case, particularly with older consents where they may be little or no additional information on the public record,” continues Sanders.
“We have had a recent enquiry that illustrates why thinking about the description of a development and making it as precise and accurate as possible can be important. It concerns a planning consent that was granted to erect a building in 1990. The description on the decision notice shows that consent was granted for the erection of a workshop/store. There is no information about the proposed use of the workshop/store, although it was subsequently assessed for business rates, which confirms that it was used for business purposes and not for a private use. Other evidence obtained by the owners indicated that it had been used as a joinery workshop and it has been described in sales particulars as having a B2 (general industrial) use”, recounts Sanders.
“In most circumstances, this may not be a problem but if, as in this case, it is necessary to establish what the authorised planning use of the building is, there is simply no means of confirming that from the planning consent. It is therefore necessary either to piece together the evidence and come to an informed decision as to what the use of the building is and/or to make a formal application to the LPA for a certificate of lawful use. That cost and uncertainty could have been avoided if the description on the original planning application had been drafted differently”, concludes Sanders.
For further information please contact Acorn Rural Property Consultants on 01884 212380