THE use of an Orford house as two flats is unlawful, Warrington Borough Council's planning officers have concluded.

A planning application was submitted to the council's planning department regarding the use of a home off Denshaw Avenue, in Orford.

The application requested permission that the building be used as two flats, rather than a single-use building.

According to the council's online planning portal, the application was submitted to the department in May of this year.

However, following a review by planning officers at the town hall, it has been deemed unlawful for the house to be used as two separate flats in this way.

The officer's report reads: "It has not been sufficiently demonstrated that the existing development is lawful and thus it is recommended that the request to issue a Lawful Development Certificate for the works is refused."

It continues: "The application form states that the property was converted from a dwellinghouse into two flats by January 1, 2000, and that there has since been no interruption to this use.

"The applicant has provided no evidence to demonstrate that this is in fact the case, however.

"For the avoidance of doubt, precise and unambiguous evidence must be provided to demonstrate that the former use of the property was as a dwellinghouse and that the flats have been in use for an uninterrupted period of at least 10 years leading up to the date of the application.

"Such evidence generally takes the form of assured shorthold tenancy agreements, invoices from builders, affidavits from residents, utility bills, or council tax records, for example.

"Precise and unambiguous evidence has not been provided to demonstrate that no enforcement action may be taken against the development and thus it is not deemed 'lawful' for the purposes of section 191."

A decision on this application was made public on November 16.