Local planning authorities need to be aware of the decision in the case of Avon Estates v Ceredigion County Council.
An application was made under section 191(a) of the Town and Country Planning Act for a certificate of lawfulness relating to the use of 42 bungalows as individual dwelling houses.
A series of permissions granted between 1964 and 1972 authorised the construction and use of the bungalows as holiday accommodation, and required the use to cease and the buildings to be demolished by specified dates.
No action to enforce the cessation of the use and restoration of the land was taken by the local planning authority.
The local planning authority also failed to make a decision on the application for the certificate, and the applicant appealed. An inspector found that while there had been no enforcement action in relation to the condition requiring the removal of the bungalows, the condition which restricted the use of the bungalows to a seasonal holiday use continued to apply while the bungalows were still on the land.
The applicant appealed to the court for an order quashing the inspector's decision. The applicant claimed that the condition which restricted the occupation of the bungalows to seasonal holiday use was also not enforceable.
The court agreed. The seasonal use applied during the period for which the bungalows were authorised by the permissions. The court also said that if a local planning authority with adequate enforcement powers "sits on its hands" until the time limiting condition can no longer be enforced, it only has itself to blame.