28 February 2020

Carey Olsen advises on first successful commercial Certificate of Lawful Use application in Guernsey

The Development & Planning Authority (DPA) for the States of Guernsey has approved the first Certificate of Lawful Use (CLU) application relating to the commercial use of property since the law's introduction last year.

Carey Olsen and PF+A Architecture advised on the application, by which the owner of Stratheden Vinery successfully demonstrated that the vinery site in Rue du Douit, Vale had been used in connection with gardening businesses and as a site to repair vehicles and machinery, continuously for more than 10 years.

Under the Land Planning and Development (Certificates of Lawful Use) Ordinance, 2019, an owner of land can apply to the DPA for it to issue a CLU to enable the property owner to regularise a long-standing unlawful use of land and certify that the existing use of the land is now lawful for planning purposes.

Carey Olsen senior associate and planning law specialist Rachel Jones said: "This CLU application is a perfect example of why the law was introduced. Stratheden Vinery had been used by various gardening businesses and for the maintenance and repair of vehicles and garden machinery for a continuous period since 1984 without having the required planning permission for that use. However no enforcement action was ever taken.

"The CLU means the continued use of Stratheden Vinery for those historic activities is now lawful."

Stratheden Vinery is one of three successful CLU applications to have been approved by the DPA in the past few weeks; the other two being submitted by residential property owners.

Rachel added: "CLU applications are determined on evidence and fact. For a CLU application to be successful it must include precise and detailed information and be supported by sufficient evidence. Our knowledge gained from this successful application suggests that the CLU regime is a welcome and useable mechanism by which clients can gain certainty in respect of the historic use of a site. This may generate a number of further applications."

Detailed guidance on the process for obtaining a CLU is available to view here.