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Planning & Environmental Law Solicitors

Certificate of Lawful Existing Use or Development

Our experienced team of specialist Planning & Environmental Law solicitors, based in Reading and Henley-on-Thames, can advise you in relation to Certificates of Lawful Existing Use or Development.

Representing you in life & business

Breaches of planning control become immune from enforcement action after a period of time. For example, with a change of use of a building to a dwellinghouse, no enforcement action may be taken after a period of four years beginning with the date of the breach. Building operations further become immune from enforcement action after a period of four years from substantial completion of the works. Enforcement action in respect of other material changes of use or a breach of condition cannot be taken after a period of 10 years from the date of the breach. 

They can be a useful tool for regularising the planning status of land or building, which can have significant financial implications if you are considering selling or mortgaging a property. They can also be useful where the Local Planning Authority is considering taking enforcement action. A submission of a Certificate application can allow the Local Planning Authority to consider the evidence relating to lawfulness without needing to resort to issuing an Enforcement Notice.

Specialist Advice

What evidence is required and/or will be sufficient for an application will very much turn on the specific facts of each breach. The onus is on the applicant to produce precise and unambiguous evidence of the lawfulness with the standard of proof on the balance of probabilities. There are also strict rules regarding deception, and submission of evidence which is later found to be deliberately misleading or false. Our specialist planning solicitors will be able to review any available evidence and advise you on chances of success, preparation of further supporting evidence and as well as managing the application process.

Please see further information on our team of Planning  Environmental Law solicitors and our full range of services.

Looking for expert legal advice?

Our Planning & Environmental Law Solicitors

For expert legal advice call our Planning & Environmental Law team
Reading 0118 951 6800 or Henley-on-Thames 01491 572 323

Karen Jones

Karen Jones

Partner, Planning & Environmental Law

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Victoria Charlesson

Victoria Charlesson

Associate Solicitor, Planning & Environmental Law

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Kayleigh Chapman

Kayleigh Chapman

Solicitor, Planning & Environmental Law

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Louise Low

Louise Low

Trainee Solicitor

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Why Choose Us?


We are ranked among the UK's top 20 Planning Law firms and widely acknowledged as one of the Thames Valley’s leading firms of solicitors advising on Planning & Environmental law matters, with conveniently located offices in Reading, Henley-on-Thames and London.


Listening carefully to our clients’ needs and aims, we are committed to providing you with clear, practical, commercially focused and effective legal advice, a responsive and highly personal service and, crucially, value for money.


Highly experienced in acting for landowners, large and small; local and national developers, waste management companies, education providers and a wide range of businesses, you can trust in our significant expertise and experience.


Our established relationships and experience in working with lenders and other leading firms, including agents, surveyors and other solicitors, can help to minimise the likelihood and impact of any unforeseen issues or costly delays.


We provide a comprehensive range of legal services to organisations, business owners and management teams, allowing you to manage both your private and commercial needs more effectively using a single law firm.

“More than holds its own against City planning teams.”