An application for change of use of a property from agricultural to residential was recently turned down because the applicant had deceived the Local Authority.
The applicant had bought land in the green belt and had successfully applied for planning permission to build a barn. The barn was then covertly converted into a house, although to outward appearances it still looked like a barn, and the applicant lived there in secret for four years. He then applied for a certificate of lawfulness of use of the building as a dwelling house, on the basis that the building had been used for that purpose unchallenged for the past four years. (The four-year statutory period is designed to give a planning authority time to discover an unlawful building operation.)
The case came to court and it was found that the applicant’s conduct throughout had been calculated to mislead the Council and to conceal his wrongdoing, albeit that he had done nothing illegal. The application for change of use was ultimately rejected.
This case demonstrates that deception and dishonesty should never be used as a way to achieve planning goals. If you would like assistance in relation to a planning application please contact Andrew Geddes or Jacqueline Spencer on 01638 661116.