||All England Reporter
|| All ER (D) 252 (Nov)
||Court of Appeal, Civil Division
Chadwick, Sedley and Keene LJJ
||James Findlay (instructed by Sharpe Pritchard) for the claimant.
||Philip Coppel (instructed by the Treasury Solicitor) for the first defendant.
||Robin Green (instructed by Clarke Kiernan, Tonbridge) for the second defendant.
||17 November 2005
Town and country planning - Development - Material change of use - Residential use - Continuity of use for prescribed period - Whether inspector applying correct test when making findings of fact.
Whether a building was used for a particular purpose at a particular time was largely a question of fact, but not wholly so in the planning context: the decision maker had to adopt the proper approach as a matter of law. In determining whether a certificate of lawful residential use should be issued, the legally correct question for an inspector was whether the building had been used as a single dwelling through a four-year period so that a local planning authority could have taken enforcement action during that time. That was a different question from whether residential use had been abandoned during the four-year period: the decision maker was required to consider whether a building had actually been put to residential use, as a building might not be in use.
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