A cottage situated on farmland near Reading, has been granted lawfulness as an independent, self-contained dwelling thanks to the advice and action of ET Planning.
The cottage was originally an annexe connected to a farmhouse and had a condition controlling it to be used only by agricultural workers.
Through the planning statement ET Planning explained that since 2006, the cottage had not been occupied by person/s employed in agricultural activities. As this is longer than the 10 years required to be immune from enforcement action for breaching a planning condition, the agricultural tie can no longer be enforced.
On top of this the dwelling has been occupied continuously since September 2008 by 10 different tenants. Being able to provide more than four years of evidence of continued residential use that was also not tied to the main farmhouse, was the key to acquiring the certificates of lawfulness for independent occupation.
Planning law states that you are immune from enforcement action after four years has lapsed since the development change of use to residential took place. The evidence provided in this case included a statutory declaration, council tax bills, tenancy agreements, water bills and an accountants letter with details of tax returns for rental income. This collectively proved that the cottage had been used for continued independant residential purposes for more than four years.
The cottage has now been provided with a certificate of lawfulness from Wokingham Borough Council.
It is really important to regularise developments with formal certificates of lawfulness from the Council. These certificates ensure stability of the accommodation for the future, particularly future property sales. If you would like advice on what is needed to obtain lawfulness, please contact the ET Planning team.