Planning Control

2.13 Planning Control

Planning approval is essentially about controlling the use of land and is
required to alter, extend or change the use of existing properties, make
changes to a listed building or to a property in a conservation area.

Planning approval is needed when a previously singly occupied property
is converted into bed-sit units or flats. Approval is not normally required
for a property let as a shared HMO for up to six tenants on a group
contract, living together as a single household and where no significant
changes have been made to the property. For a group of seven or more the
presumption should be made that approval may be needed and the advice
of the local planning authority should be obtained.

2.13.1 Obtaining Planning Approval

To obtain planning approval, an application with detailed drawings and
payment of a fee is made to the local planning authority. The authority will
consider the application, may consult with local residents and will then
issue a decision with the reasons for that decision. The approval may have
conditions attached.

An applicant aggrieved by the decision can appeal against it to the
Planning Inspector or may negotiate with the planning authority and
amend and re-submit the application.

Enforcement action can be taken against unapproved developments
requiring the re-instatement of the property back to its original condition.

The interactive site given below provides an illustration of works that
require Planning and Building Regulations approval.

2.13.2 Certificate of Lawful Use

Unapproved conversions of singly occupied houses to HMOs and flats are
outside the time limits for enforcement action by planning authorities
if established use can be proved for 10 years in the case of bed-sit
properties, and four years for buildings in flats.

After the above time periods an application can be made to the planning
authority for a Certificate of Lawful Use (CLU). This means that the use of
the property is lawful despite the use not having planning approval.