Q. We have the chance to buy stables, an arena and fields and are looking into starting our own livery yard. There’s no accommodation, although an abandoned caravan makes us think someone must have lived there in the past. It’s a rural area, so we’d need someone on site to keep an eye on the horses. Do we need permission for a mobile home and how do we go about getting it?
A. Subject to certain limited exceptions, which don’t appear relevant here, planning permission is required to install and use a mobile home on such a site. The abandoned caravan might already indicate that the site already benefits from planning permission, but in practice I would be surprised if this were the case. It would be worth checking this and the planning history of the site with your local council. Your solicitor can help with this.
Generally speaking if a caravan has been used for 10 years without any express planning permission it may be immune from enforcement action. If you’re considering relying on this, get advice from your solicitor because certain conditions must be met and your claim backed up by evidence of use over this period. However, as the caravan has been abandoned you’ll be unable to do this here.
You must make a planning application to your local district or unitary council on a prescribed form. Whether or not permission will be granted depends upon a variety of factors, including the location, local planning policy, objections and the case you can make to demonstrate a real need for the mobile home. Your solicitor or a planning consultant can advise you further on how you might best present your case. In addition it’s worth mentioning that you may also require a licence under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960. Applications for site licences must again be made to the local authority. There are certain limited exceptions to this requirement, so you should discuss your proposals with the local authority and your solicitor first.
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