Lawful development certificate

For peace of mind that an existing or proposed use of a building is lawful or that the proposal doesn’t require planning permission, you can apply for a lawful development certificate (LDC).

It is a legal document which proves the lawfulness of past, present or future building use. If granted, it means that enforcement action cannot be carried out to the development referred to in the certificate.

However, the certificate will not protect from enforcement action if the specified use is then changed 'materially' without a planning application for it.

Examples of when you might apply for an LDC include:

  • when enforcement action is taken and the owner believes it is immune because the time limit for enforcement action has passed.
  • when an owner discovers, in the course of a sale, that planning permission has never been granted, and needs to show a prospective purchaser that no enforcement action can be taken.

Before you apply, please read the guidance on GOV.UK or refer to the Planning Portal.

If you need further advice before you apply, please contact us.

How to apply

You can 

You will need to pay a fee - please refer to our planning fees and how to pay.

We will notify you of our decision within 8 weeks (6 weeks for a listed building).

Appeal a decision about a lawful development certificate

You can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate if:

  • you disagree with our decision
  • the decision wasn’t made within 8 weeks (6 weeks for work to a listed building)
Don’t appeal if you’ve already been given an enforcement notice. 

The Planning Inspectorate will not consider the planning merits of your proposal, just whether the evidence that you have provided is sufficient to prove the lawfulness of the development or not.

Visit GOV.UK for more information on LDC appeals and how to make an appeal.