I have been told that you do not need to apply for planning permission if
for example an extension that has been there for four years and a day. How
true is this, does anybody know for definate if this is true.
The location is East london UK.
Almost right. See: http://www.communities.gov.uk/index.asp?id44433
(Annex 2, para 2.4) - this confirms that 'operational development' (e.g.
constructing an extension) gains immunity from planning enforcement action
it has been 'substantially complete' for 4 years or more. So a council
would be unable to take action to secure its removal. Unless planning
permission is granted for it following a retrospective planning application,
it will remain as unauthorised. In the alternative you (or whoever has the
extension) could apply to the council for a Certificate of Lawfulness of
Existing Development where the council are invited to assess the legality
(not the planning merits) of the building. You pay a fee for this
application but a certificate will be issued if on the balance of
probalility the extension has been up for 4 years (supply receipts for
materials, invoice from builder, affidavits from neighbours, etc), whether
the council like the extension or not. Rules are the same whether you're in
E.London or elsewhere in England & Wales.
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