Assetoptimal was recently successful in securing planning consent via a Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Use or Development, avoiding a lengthy and costly public inquiry appeal.

The Certificate of Lawfulness – or CLEUD – is a legal document which allows a council to regularise a planning breach.

Examples include:

  1. A planning breach could be the conversion of part of a barn to a single dwelling. If this dwelling has not received an enforcement action from the local planning authority for a period of more than four years, then CLEUD may allow for it to become regularised and legal development.
  2. A breach of planning could be the breach of a planning condition. A common example would be a dwelling with an agricultural tie where the occupant is not an agricultural worker and has been residing in the property for more than a 10-year period without interruption or action from the planning authority.

In Assetoptimal’s recent case, we established that a building had been used for a residential use as opposed to an agricultural use. This meant that rather than appealing an enforcement notice (a notice seeking the development ceased on the land) from the local planning authority, the client was given consent via a legal assessment of the change of use on the site.

This was beneficial as the alternative appeal process and subsequent public inquiry would have at least four to six months, and would have required both our own team of planning and property experts and a legal team arguing the appeal within a public inquiry.

However, the CLEUD was secured in an eight-week process via negotiation by Assetoptimal and legal professionals. This secured the future of our client’s home and ensured they were not battling an appeal for many months at great expense. It should be noted these cases require robust supporting evidence, and professional advice should always be taken prior to submitting a CLEUD.

For more information or advice about planning permission, call Richard Edge or Alex Orttewell on 01935 852170 or email