Certificate of lawfulness

Also known as Naive First Homeowners Vs. Haringey Council

Living in a conservation area is reassuring, as it means we probably won't have a 20 story council block built on our street in the immediate future. On the other hand, it does mean that Haringey Council keeps an eagle eye on any tweaking the good people of Noel Park do to their houses. They're especially anal about the bits you can see from the street, but even with our little rear extension they're making us jump through all sort of hoops.

In May when we moved in, we looked at the rusted-through radiators, groaning boiler and rotting floorboards, and naively assumed we'd have all our renovation work done by the winter. Now that's looking a tad unlikely. To cut a long story short, we were wrongly advised to apply for a certificate of lawfulness, ie. planning permission lite. It's a document stating that the work falls under the definition of the government's permitted development - small stuff you can do without planning permission. And after waiting for 8 weeks, we got some frustrating news.

Aaaargh! Apparently, our extension is 75cm longer than the maximum length (3m). I mean, REALLY. And because we want glass doors all the way along the back of the house, we can't just chop a bit off. So what this means is that we have had to fill in a gazillion new forms and apply for full planning permission, which will take ANOTHER 8 weeks.

Since the building work will take 2-3 months, it looks like we won't have heating or hot water until November at the earliest. We're trying to stay zen and think about the gas bill savings.

But there is another silver lining. In search of hot showers, we've joined the local gym - which means we not only get to wash fairly regularly but we're also forced into doing some exercise! Brilliant.

certificate of lawfulness