Category: FAQ

What Is A Lawful Development Certificate?

A Lawful Development Certificate is the only way to prove that your development is Permitted Development and does not need planning permission.

For anything we think will be considered Permitted Development we would always recommend applying for a Lawful Development Certificate before commencing any works.

Even if we think your proposal meets all of the criteria for Permitted Development, there are no guarantees, your local planning authority will either approve or reject the application.

The Lawful Development Certificate and Planning Permission processes, timescales and costs are basically the same.  

The major benefit of a LDC versus other planning application types is that neighbours do not have an opportunity to object and councils can only asses again the GDPO which increases the likelihood of success.

A Lawful Development Certificate will likely be required in order to sell or re-mortgage the property in future.

Clients often contact us after receiving an offer to buy their property when they find out the solicitors require an LDC or planning approval to complete the sale. This takes at least 3+ months so often sales fall through as a result of this.

Another important fact which most people are unaware of is that your planning authority can remove your Permitted Development rights at any time in future risking retro planning issues and enforcement action.

A Lawful Development Certificate  protects you from retrospective planning issues and enforcement action. So, even if the council impose new planning constraints removing your permitted rights, your LDC proves that it was lawful at the time of the build so you will never have any issues.

If you do receive an enforcement notice and can’t get retrospective planning permission approved then you would need to demolish your build and put the property back to its original state.

Enforcement action would be registered on the property which could also make it difficult to sell in future.

Enforcement action is not uncommon, in fact currently 90% of councils enforcement teams are backlogged because they have so many cases.

Unfortunately we deal with clients who have received enforcement notices on a daily basis, 90% of these were sure what they built was Permitted Development having either misunderstood the planning portal or been mis-advised by someone other than a Town Planner, who is not qualified in planning law.

To see some examples of what is required for Lawful Development Certificate applications please visit our Portfolio where you can filter by project and application type.

If you would like to know the what is required and the feasibility for your project we can conduct a planning appraisal.

You can use our online Cost Calculator to get an instant free no obligation estimate.

If you would like to find out whether your project is feasible, whether it requires planning permission and get an accurate quote for architectural design please Contact Us for a free no obligation consultation.

Milana Semco


With over 15 years marketing experience Milana brings a huge amount of experience to the team. With heavy focus on our customers needs and interests, she helps Planning By Design to reach, engage and educate clients on all things planning and design in new and innovative ways.

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