Greenbelt and Conservation Areas
Many homeowners are familiar with ‘permitted development rights’. This is the allowance to construct outbuildings, extensions, sheds etc. without the need for planning approval. However, these rights are often restricted to properties within greenbelt and conservation areas, areas of outstanding natural beauty or scientific interest. This does NOT restrict the use of mobile homes.
The crucial fact is that the use of a caravan is NOT a permitted development right or even ‘development’. Caravans are not ‘buildings’ or ‘structures’. So if there is a Law that restricts permitted development or applies to buildings or structures, it should not restrict the use of a caravan. There are some exceptions, for example, if a mobile home sited in open country land is considered harmful to the greenbelt.
Article 4 Direction
The local planning authority may have removed the permitted development rights of an area by issuing an Article 4 direction. This is common in new housing estates. Unless specifically used to restrict the use of caravans the restriction will normally be upon ‘permitted development’, which does not include caravans, as caravans are not development.
Restrictive Building Covenants
Restrictive covenants are basically a form of private planning control. They place restrictions on the development or use of land, for the benefit of another piece of land, and are enforceable by one landowner against another. In some cases, particularly modern housing estates, the developer may have placed a restricted covenant that states that caravans and motorhomes cannot be parked in the garden or drive. In these cases a caravan will not be allowed unless the original builder lifts or cancels the covenant, which can often be arranged.
Orchards and Paddocks and Woodland
If there is a lack of distinction between the boundary and use of the garden and other areas of your property, for example an orchard area or field used to keep horses that are used by members of the household, then planning permission will usually be required, as the Council will often not conclude such areas are ‘domestic’ curtilage, even if they are parcel to your property as a whole. One recommendation is, before commencing with any caravan proceedings, to separately apply for planning permission for ‘change of use’ of these areas to residential curtilage or garden. This can be supported with a site map indicating the entire property boundary that can be drawn into new deeds for your property. Additionally the Land Registry can be contacted to confirm the registered ‘use’.