Lawful Development Certificate: Change of use residential to industrial workshop

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    Lawful Development Certificate: Change of use residential to industrial workshop

    Hello

    I hope that someone can help advise me.

    We have just moved into a residential terraced house. We believed, when we bought the house, that our neighbours lived there. It is now apparent that the house is used as a builder's storehouse as well as an industrial workshop. Nobody lives at the house - it is purely commercial. It is incredibly noisy with grinding, drilling, sawing etc. It is also busy with builders coming and going. Needless to say, we are not happy!

    I have checked with the council and the house in question is registered as residential (not commercial). The company in question is a limited company and their registered office and trading address is not at the house next to ours. As it seems that they have not lawfully applied for planning permission for change of use. And it seems that they may also therefore be evading paying business rates.

    I would very much appreciate any general advice and / or comments. I've also laid out some questions I have at the moment:

    1. I believe that there is a 10-year period in which authorities can take planning enforcement action against breaches of planning control for changes in use of this nature. What sort of evidence might the builders have to provide that they have been using the house as a workshop for more that 10 years? How easy / difficult is this?
    2. Is there the possibility that they can claim they use it as a residential property? How much is this investigated by the authority to verify this claim if made?
    3. If the 10-year period has passed, is there anything else we can do? Is there any way a member of the public such as myself resist or appeal against a Lawful Development Certificate being granted?
    4. If the 10-year period has not passed, how easy / difficult is it to get planning permission for change of use of this nature? Again, can the public have a say in this?
    5. What are the implications of the biz rates?

    Sorry for all the questions - but even partial info on some of them would be very helpful.

    #2
    I don't have the answers to your specific question; however, what enquiries did you solicitor make from the vendors before purchase? They will no doubt have completed a 'particulars of sale' form or similar, which should have included questions which cover stuff like this. Have a read and see what questions were asked and what answers they gave - you may well have a case against the vendor.

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      #3
      We used to live in a quiet rural village. My neighbours, actually tenants, started a cleaning business and very soon we were inundated with vans and even minibuses used to pick up 'cleaners' from town. At night there were vans everywhere!

      We and other neighbours complained to the tenant and the owner and got no action so we complained to the council who confirmed they had no planning permission and were told to move the business elsewhere.

      Comment


        #4
        1. I believe that there is a 10-year period in which authorities can take planning enforcement action against breaches of planning control for changes in use of this nature. What sort of evidence might the builders have to provide that they have been using the house as a workshop for more that 10 years? How easy / difficult is this?
        Statements of Truth provided by people that are able to confirm the length of time the building has been in use for more than 10 years for commercial purposes.
        The evidence has to provide the civil standard of proof that is "on the balance of probability"

        2. Is there the possibility that they can claim they use it as a residential property? How much is this investigated by the authority to verify this claim if made?
        The current owners will want to prove 10 years use as commercial, surely?
        3. If the 10-year period has passed, is there anything else we can do? Is there any way a member of the public such as myself resist or appeal against a Lawful Development Certificate being granted?
        The LDC is granted as a matter of law once the 10 years period has been proven on the balance of probability.
        If the facts show more than 10 years use then the LDC has to be issued.
        4. If the 10-year period has not passed, how easy / difficult is it to get planning permission for change of use of this nature? Again, can the public have a say in this?
        It will be very difficult to gain planning permission for such a use in a residential area. Any application can be objected against using planning matters such as loss of amenity to neighbouring residential properties. Excess traffic movements and noise from the commercial use.
        5. What are the implications of the biz rates?
        If the claim for an LDC was granted based on statements that use had continued for more than 10 years, the council could issue a claim for unpaid business rates if those rates would have been more than the council tax collected during the 10 years the property was being taxed as residential.

        Comment

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