The planning system entitles anyone to apply for permission to develop any plot of land, irrespective of ownership. This does not however affect any civil rights which can preclude development from being implemented if the consent of the owner is not obtained.

An applicant is required to notify owners of the land or buildings to which the application relates, as well as any agricultural tenants [1].  An 'owner' for planning purposes is anyone with a freehold interest, or leasehold interest the unexpired term of which is not less than 7 years. When making an application, an applicant is required to sign a certificate confirming the ownership of the land to which the application relates and that the relevant notices have been served.

Further details on certification can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/making-an-application#ownership-certificate

If you believe someone has served an incorrect certificate, this can be a material matter which requires attention during the determination process. In such cases, in order for us to challenge this with the applicant/agent, we request that you provide proof of ownership (such as a copy of a Land Registry title) or alternative evidence to show that the certificate is incorrect. In the majority of cases where such proof is not available, and there is no clear error, we will often side with the applicant as it is an offence to complete a false or misleading certificate, either knowingly or recklessly, with a maximum fine of up to £5,000.

[1] In accordance with article 13 of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015