All development or material changes of use requiring consent under the Town & Country Planning Act should only be undertaken AFTER the receipt of the necessary planning approval. However, occasions do arise whereby a development or use has been implemented without the necessary planning consent having been obtained, and as such the development constitutes an ‘unauthorized development or use’.
In some instances, this failure to obtain planning approval may have been intentional, where perhaps the owner of the property has hoped the development or use would go un-noticed by the authority. Or perhaps, they feared refusal of their proposals, should an application have been submitted in the proper manner.
However, most cases of ‘unauthorized development or use’ have usually been carried out un-intentionally, where the property owner or developer has been un-aware that formal permission was necessary for the particular development or use.
In such cases, it may be possible to regularize the resulting breach of planning consent by submitting a retrospective planning application for the retention of the development or use which has previously been undertaken.
Applications for retrospective planning approval are submitted and determined by much the same process as would be adopted for applications submitted prior to development, and subsequent approval of the application would result in retrospective permission being granted for the development or use.
However retrospective applications are by no means certain to receive approval, and if an application for retrospective permission is ultimately refused, the development or use will continue to remain unauthorised, and enforcement action by the local authority may follow requiring removal of the development or use.