West Berkshire Council: Dan Wilden of Pure Town Planning recently successfully obtained a certificate of lawfulness for clients in the countryside near Newbury to confirm that the integration of land into the garden was lawful and that the homeowners can carry on using the whole as a larger garden.

The garden in question is associated with a barn conversion which was completed just over 10 years ago. The original planning consent showed only a relatively small garden area associated with the dwelling however in practice a much larger area was sold with the house. Our clients have used this full area as a larger garden ever since. They were keen to secure a certificate to confirm that the area is now lawful as a residential garden – so that they know they can carry on but also to safeguard the land value for any future sale.

But it is not always straightforward making such applications and there are plenty of pitfalls not least proving that the change of use happened ten years ago and has been constant since. The burden of proof always falls to the applicant. Fortunately in this case under Dan’s guidance our clients were able to put together ample evidence to convince the Council that the use was lawful and that the certificate had to be issued. The comprehensive submission meant that there was no uncertainty and the Council were able to issue the decision within the target timeframe.

If you have a breach of planning control which you think may have become lawful or if you have any other concerns about unauthorised development then you can talk to us for impartial advice in the strictest confidence.