When property is used for a purpose that is not in accordance with the planning permission, the relevant planning authority will generally take steps to stop the breach of planning regulations.
However, where a person is a ‘long user’ of the property in breach of the applicable planning regulations, the right to continue to use the property in that way may be made legal via an application for a ‘certificate of lawful existing use or development’ (CLEUD).
In a recent case, a local council sought to oppose an application for a CLEUD that had been applied for by a cafe which had placed tables and chairs on the pavement in breach of planning law. It argued that the fact that these were taken inside when the cafe closed at night meant that the breach was not continuous and therefore a CLEUD could not apply.
The inspector considered that the temporary storage of the furniture was not sufficient to prevent ‘continuous use’ and granted the CLEUD.
On appeal, the decision was confirmed by the court.