Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2005] All ER (D) 252 (Nov)
Court: Court of Appeal, Civil Division

Chadwick, Sedley and Keene LJJ

Representation 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.
Judgment Dates: 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.

The Case

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.

Practice Areas

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