Bournemouth Borough Council: Pure Town Planning have recently secured a Lawful Development Certificate for an existing use. In this particular application, the building had some time ago been converted from a hotel into a “sui generis” house in multiple occupancy (HMO) in the East Cliff ward of Bournemouth. A sui generis HMO is one housing more than six residents.

Development can become lawful if it has taken place or been completed for a certain period of time (4 or 10 years depending on the development) without the planning authority taking enforcement action. In such circumstances an application for a certificate of lawfulness may be made to confirm the situation. Applications for such certificates take time to prepare to ensure that  the evidence submitted will persuade the Council that, on the balance of probability, the development has occurred for the necessary period of time.

For this particular application, which was an unlawful change of use, it was required for us to demonstrate that the use had continued for a period in excess of 10 years. This required us to provide evidence including:

  • Statutory declarations from the property owners
  • HMO License’s from 2008 and 2014 respectively

Furthermore, the publicly available enforcement records were checked to ensure that at no time in the last 10 years that the Council had served an enforcement notice asking for the unlawful use to cease.

With the application submitted, Pure Town Planning closely liaised with the Case Officer throughout the application, including a site visit to validate that the evidence submitted does relate to the existing situation within the property.

The Case Officer concluded that, on the balance of probability and on the basis of the evidence provided as part of the application, the use of the application site has been in continuous use for the purposes specified for a period in excess of 10 years and issued a Lawful Development Certificate confirming that the lawful use is now a Sui Generis HMO.

When trying to regularise unauthorised uses or building works it is vitally important to take professional planning advice at the earliest opportunity to avoid making a potentially costly mistake. So if this applies to you why don’t you give Pure Town Planning a call on 01202 585524 for a free fully confidential discussion on how we can assist you.

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