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Inherited Property Planning Quagmire

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Hello everyone.

So I just inherited a bit of land from a family member. It had original planning permission as a fishing lake, but over the space of 25 years they added buildings here and there, to the eventual result that there are now a number of small dwellings there in the shape of mobile units and containers, a couple of small businesses, and a fair number of storage sheds and tackle shops. It also appears that the previous owner had many years of wranglings with the local planning office - although not for a good dozen years. Many of the buildings date back 15 to 20 years, while a few small others are only three or four years old.

As far as the dwellings go, there are no tenancy agreements, so I have no specific proof of the length of time these buildings have been there, but some of them have been mentioned in the published disputes with the councils, dating back as far as 20 years.

So, in short, I have land that has planning permission for one use, that currently partially has another subsidiary use, part of which dates back longer than ten year, some of which doesn't. The council seemed to have been very interested in the property at one point, but seemed to get bored with the hassle and haven't visited since. So what do I do? I guess that legally I have to report everything on the property and try to get backdated permission for the older buildings. But will they demand that I get rid of the younger ones, even though I was not responsible for the buildings? Or even suggest that flatten the whole place? Or am I, as an inheritee, not liable for my relative's actions? (I suspect that the last option is unlikely!)

What at first seemed like a nice inheritance is turning out to be a quagmire of potential planning woes. Do I speculatively apply for a certificate of lawful development? Or do I just keep my head down and hope nobody notices?

Any useful advice anyone can give will be most gratefully received!

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Some of the buildings will be beyond enforcement, unless there is active enforcement on the site.

It is very hard to say what might be able to be regularised and what can't.

Yes you could do nothing, but if enforcement is still live from a number of years ago, this could be actioned at any time.

You are likely to get some if not most regularised through passage of time (subject to any enforcement) - but this will probably be complicated for all concerned in undertaking that.

If you are confident in doing a certificate of lawfulness, then you might opt to go ahead. But you will need proof of age in the buildings. I would very much doubt you will need to flatten the entire site.

If you need any further assistance, please reach out via 

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