Commencement of development
Most Planning Approvals have a condition giving 4 years from the date of decision for the development to commence. There is no specific definition of commencement of development and what constitutes development will vary between applications.
As a general guide in considering whether development has commenced regard is had to whether or not:
- works have taken place that are sufficient to be considered development (i.e. they are not de minimis) and beyond anything allowed for as Permitted Development
- works have taken place that are related to the development which has been approved (i.e. in accordance with approved plans)
- any prior commencement planning conditions have been complied with
Unfortunately unable to confirm over the telephone or via the drop in service whether or not it would be considered that you have commenced development. A formal, legally binding determination of whether or not a development has commenced can be sought by means of an application for a Certificate of Lawful Use or Development. In any case, you may wish to ensure you have suitable dated evidence/documentation of any works which you believe constitute commencement in case of any future challenge.
Please note that if the term 'commencement of development' is used in a legal document (e.g. a Section 13 agreement) then that document may contain its own definition.