A matter of speculation

An inspector has granted a certificate of lawfulness for the change of use of a terrace property in south-east London from a C3 dwellinghouse to a C4 house in multiple occupation under Part 3 Class L of the GPDO (DCS Number 400-036-104). In doing so he issued a reminder that it is not for a council to refuse a certificate on the basis of fears about future use. 

The inspector noted that the application and accompanying plans unambiguously proposed a development which was within the C4 Class, and therefore it was a permitted change of use from C3 under the GPDO. The council, however, had refused the LDC application upon its view that the property would likely not be used as proposed. 

The inspector remarked that it is necessary to consider an application made under section 192 of the Act on the basis of what is actually proposed and not on the basis of un-proposed development the decision-maker speculates might occur. He pointed out that, were unlawful development to occur outside of a granted LDC, the council has discretionary enforcement powers with which to deal with it. 

Section 4.301 of DCP Online covers lawful use or development certificates and section 11.2 concerns multiple occupation.