I went on holiday in September with the promise from various clients that their land deals were progressing and came back two weeks later bronzed by the Marrakesh sun, refreshed and having honed my negotiating skills by haggling over taxi prices and the like to find what?
Not a lot. The clients are all nervous and certainly sitting on their hands. The banks are out trying to lend, as long as there is absolutely no risk and they have security that is not only belt and braces but also the trousers as well.
So what does a commercial property lawyer do? He turns to his second string of planning advice. There is still work in this area particularly relating to certificates of lawful use and enforcement issues. Certificates of lawful use seem to be an area which is now much considered. Why one asks oneself? I suspect it is because the planning process is in such a muddle, with thanks to Mr Pickles, that people are turning to the idea of getting some basic position secure so that they can then try and move to their real objective knowing that the local planning authority cannot take away the base position. A certificate of lawful use is relatively easy to obtain, provided that the applicant completes all the necessary boxes and forms. The case is one of fact and not subject to the vagaries of the views of planning officers and the planning committee. Has the use been continuous for 4 or 10 years? If so, the certificate must be granted.
I know there have been some high profile cases involving secret development which have fallen foul of the procedure but these are rare and, from what I read, deserved to fail .
Last 5 posts by Hugh Ellins
- Become Greener with Care - September 16th, 2011
- To Sell or Buy a Dental Practice - August 18th, 2011
- Governments Review of Change of Use in Town and Country Planning - July 6th, 2011
- TO SEARCH OR NOT TO SEARCH - April 11th, 2011
- Getting Your Ducks in a Line - January 5th, 2011