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Apr, 2014

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  1. #1

    Default Conversion to Flats - 4 Year or 10 Year Rule?

    I realise this has featured a few times in this Forum, but I wonder if anyone has seen any definitive rulings?

    I own a property which was split into two flats without PP. I received an Enforcement Notice which reads:

    3. The Matters Which Appear To Constitute The Breach Of Planning Control - "without planning permission the change of use of the Land from use as a single dwellinghouse to use as 2 self-contained flats".
    4. Reasons For Issuing This Notice - "It appears to the Council that the breach of planning control referred to above in paragraph 3 has occurred within the last ten years."

    On speaking to the Planning Enforcement Officer, I challenged the period of ten years, believing the property should be exempt from Enforcement after four. However, he responded that splitting a property constitutes a change of use of Land, and (under 171B(2)of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990) it is only if the Change of Use is TO a single dwellinghouse where the four-year rule applies. All other changes of use (including changing the use of a building FROM a single dwellinghouse) only acquire immunity after ten years.

    In this particular case it is very unlikely I could in any case prove that the breach was more than four years ago. However, I have another for which this might be appropriate.

    And so my question: There is a lot of speculation, but is there any case history where the splitting of a building into flats has been deemed to fall under the 4-year or the 10-year rule?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    London
    Posts
    1,089

    Default

    Very generally speaking;

    If there's a commercial gain (in any sense) then it's the 10-years.
    If it's private residential gain (on the property you live in) then it's 4-years.
    There is always scope for misinterpretation.

    If my posts can be interpreted in two ways, one that makes you feel angry and one that doesn't, I meant the latter.

    Everyday is an opportunity to learn something new.

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks mk1fan.

    I am specifically looking for any rulings / case history etc. which will add weight to one argument or the other.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    511

    Default Wow!

    On speaking to the Planning Enforcement Officer, I challenged the period of ten years, believing the property should be exempt from Enforcement after four. However, he responded that splitting a property constitutes a change of use of Land, and (under 171B(2)of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990) it is only if the Change of Use is TO a single dwellinghouse where the four-year rule applies. All other changes of use (including changing the use of a building FROM a single dwellinghouse) only acquire immunity after ten years.
    That Planning officer is absolutely incorrect.
    The fact is that you have created two single dwellings when previously there had been only one single dwelling.

    After four years each of the flats became lawful becasue of the wording used in the Act.

    171B Time limits.
    (1)Where there has been a breach of planning control consisting in the carrying out without planning permission of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land, no enforcement action may be taken after the end of the period of four years beginning with the date on which the operations were substantially completed.
    (2)Where there has been a breach of planning control consisting in the change of use of any building to use as a single dwellinghouse, no enforcement action may be taken after the end of the period of four years beginning with the date of the breach.
    (3)In the case of any other breach of planning control, no enforcement action may be taken after the end of the period of ten years beginning with the date of the breach.
    For a planning officer to state otherwise seems to show the poor quality of staff now being employed by Local Planning Authorities.

    The first floor was originally part of a building, as was the second floor. Each part of the original building became a single dwelling once the operational development had occurred which created the two separate dwellings.

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