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WELWYN HATFIELD BOROUGH COUNCIL v SECRETARY OF STATE FOR COMMUNITIES & LOCAL GOVERNMENT & ANOTHER

The Court of Appeal had erred in upholding the grant of a certificate of lawfulness under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 Pt VII s.191(1)(a) on the grounds that there had been a change of use for the purposes of s.171B(2). Even if there had been a change of use, the owner of the building would have been precluded from relying on s.171B(2) as a result of his deceit in obtaining the planning permission.

11 April 2011

The appellant local authority appealed against a decision (2010) EWCA Civ 26, (2010) PTSR 1296 upholding a certificate of lawfulness granted to the respondent (B) under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 Pt VII s.191(1)(a). In 2000 B had obtained planning permission for a hay barn. In 2002 he constructed a building which from the outside looked like a barn, but internally was a dwelling-house. The building was completed in July 2002 and one month later B moved in. He lived there for four years. The local authority remained unaware that the building was being used as a dwelling-house. In August 2006 B applied for a certificate of lawfulness on the basis of a change of use and that the four-year time limit for taking enforcement action had elapsed in accordance with s.171B(2). The local authority refused the certificate, but a planning inspector later granted it. On appeal, the Court of Appeal upheld the certificate on the basis that there had been a change of use from a barn to a...

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