Van Dyck v Secretary of State for the Environment: CA 1993

The court asked whether the four year enforcement rule applied in respect of subdivision of a larger building to create single dwelling houses or applied only in the case of conversion of a single building to single dwelling houses.
Held: It applies to subdivision. The concept of the planning unit has no part to play in a case where there has been a change from use as a single dwellinghouse to use as two or more separate dwellinghouses within section 55(3)(a).
Simon Brown LJ said: ‘Having considered those competing submissions at some length he [the Lord Justice] had reached the conclusion that the concept of the planning unit in fact afforded no assistance to either side . . As stated, the purpose of the concept-the only point in deciding upon the appropriate planning unit-was to decide whether or not there had been a material change of use. Here undoubtedly there had been-section 55(3)(a) so declared. There was accordingly no possible need to invoke the doctrine of the planning unit to decide the question. Here, moreover, it was the very act of creating two separate units of occupation out of a single pre-existing unit which constituted the making of the material change of use. How inappropriate, therefore, that one should seek assistance from a doctrine substantially founded on units of occupation to illuminate the nature of the breach of planning control in question or to determine the appropriate target for enforcement. In short, none of the planning unit cases had any application whatever to the situation presently confronting this court.’


Simon Brown, Dillon and Farquharson LJJ


[1993] JPL 565, [1993] 1 PLR 124


Town and Country Planning Act 1990 55(3)(a)


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedT A J Moore v The Secretary of State for the Environment, The New Forest District Council Admn 25-Oct-1996
The applicant sought to quash an enforcement notice, regarding a change of use from residential to mixed residential and holiday accommodation. The change had taken in respect of several units over a long period of time. The inspector sought to . .
CitedMoore v Secretary of State for Environment and New Forest District Council CA 18-Feb-1998
The outbuildings of a large country house had been converted into ten single self-contained units of residential accommodation for the purpose of holiday lettings. Nine of the units were in use by May 1991. In May 1995 the local planning authority . .
CitedSecretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Another v Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council SC 6-Apr-2011
The land-owner had planning permission to erect a barn, conditional on its use for agricultural purposes. He built inside it a house and lived there from 2002. In 2006. He then applied for a certificate of lawful use. The inspector allowed it, and . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.181819