An assessment of the submitted evidence will be made by a Planning Officer and any further details by way of clarification requested. The planning merits of the use, operation or activity in the application are not relevant. The issue of a certificate depends entirely on factual evidence about the history and planning status of the building or other land and the interpretation of any relevant planning law or judicial authority. However, the onus of proof in an LDC application is directly on the applicant to show to the Council on the balance of probabilities, that a Certificate ought reasonably to be issued.
Put simply, the applicant must show that it is more likely than not that the facts asserted by him or her are correct.
While planning officers will always co-operate with an applicant seeking information they may hold about the planning status of land, by making records readily available, Government advice to Local Planning Authorities is that they need not go to great lengths to show that the use, operations, or failure to comply with a condition, specified in the application, is, or is not, lawful
If the LPA have no evidence of their own, or from others, to contradict or otherwise make the applicant's version of events less than probable, there is no good reason to refuse the application, provided the applicant's evidence alone is sufficiently precise and unambiguous to justify the grant of a certificate "on the balance of probability".
Where the Council has neither evidence of its own, nor receives evidence from others but is satisfied with the information submitted by the applicant it may grant a certificate based solely on "the balance of probability".