London Green Belt Council

Green Belt appeal decisions

Caravans & mobile homes(other)


About LGBC







Updated 11 May 2007, this page includes various recent decisions on appeals against refusal of planning consent. Summarises of appeal decisions arising from refusal of planning consent are available at www.Planning,uk/dcs, with a copy of the decision letter also available for a fee.

 'SoS' = Secretary of State. 'DETR' is now ‘DCLG’ = Dept for Communities and Local Government.

Gypsies and show people are now on a separate page.

Kent GB replacement chalets refused.  The SoS refused 20 chalets in the Met GB and AONB on the Kent Downs as undermining the area’s character.  30 chalets and caravans were approved in 1951.  In 2000 a lawful certificate allowed occupation of 17 chalets and 17 caravans between 1 March and 31 October.  The applicant now wanted 20 chalets occupied 10 months a year. They would have a larger footprint and the road etc would increase the built development to a point when it became inappropriate.  It would be a finger of development into open countryside, and out of character in the rural setting.  There was no convincing need to improve the quality of tourist accommodation in the area.  DCS 100042323.  9.6.06

Manager’s mobile home allowed in Heathrow GB.  A cattery manager’s mobile home was allowed due to VSC.  The cattery, part of a larger site in the same ownership with kennels and a manager’s dwelling, had not been used since 1999 being substandard.  Improvements had been made but a licence could not be issued until there was lawful accommodation on site for management and supervision.  The Inspector accepted it added cumulatively to the overall site coverage and intensity of development on the site, but the home reduced openness of the GB.  There did not appear to be any other suitable accommodation for the manager and the mobile home would be inconspicuous.  It had been imprudent to let the existing house but it had not been a deliberate attempt to abuse the planning system.  The need for this accommodation outweighed the harm to the GB. It did not set a precedent on human rights and was not an invitation to anyone to build a house or site a mobile home anywhere without prior permission.  DCS 1`00042001.  19.5.06

Mobile home allowed at Surrey GB wildlife park.  The park housed a wide range of native wildlife in a large number of buildings including a shop, cafe, museum and recently erected house for the head keeper.   The Inspector said the mobile home was inappropriate.  However correspondence from the International Zoo Vet Group explained the significance of the park and that it was essential to have staff on site 24 hours a day every day to deal with emergencies, vandalism etc.  The council refused permission arguing that the house was sufficient but the Inspector ruled it unreasonable for the head keeper to give up part of his home for staff quarters.  This was a very special circumstance.  DCS 100039705.  9.12.05

Heathrow workers caravans refused in Met GB.  The appellant wanted to retain the caravans for another 3 years because work would continue to 2011.  The Inspector decided that there was a lack of evidence to support the arguments and BAA had failed to provide information to show how this accommodation was vital to the work.  The caravans were a substantial and notably urbanising for of development undermining the openness.  Moving the workers and families did not violate their human rights.  The legitimate aim of protecting the GB could only be secured by refusing permission.  DCS 100040638.  3.2.06


Essex GB caravans get temporary approval.  3 interconnected caravans had been converted and adapted to a residential building at a farm.  A lawful development certificate had been issued in 1994 for 2 caravans used for storage, a canteen and toilet for the farm workers.  Later they were adapted to become an agricultural worker’s dwelling.  The Inspector noted the limited agricultural activity and modest income arising from it. He agreed to take a realist approach to profitability and noted PPG7 advice on this.  He accepted the viability of the business and need for someone to live on site, and the appellant would lose his home if refused.  Personal pernmission was granted for 7 years to allow the situation to be reviewed later.  DCS 100037687.  8.7.05

Heathrow Terminal 5 workers caravans refused.    The appellant argued it was necessary to house workers from outside the area and shift working including 24-hour stints meant having to live nearby.  Without temporary accommodation the work could be delayed.  The DPM  acknowledged the demand for housing but the caravans would materially harm the openness of the green belt with no clear indication as to how their removal would materially delay work.  There were no very special circumstances, but he allowed 6 months for compliance.  Enforcement notices against a builder’s yard and tyre storage were upheld.  DCS 100037554.   8.7.05

Heathrow Terminal 5 workers caravans cannot be housed on GB.  An appeal seeking temporary approval was held to be incompatible with GB policy.  An appeal against an enforcement order was dismissed in 2003.  The current appeal argued the national importance of completing T5 with delay outweighed the inappropriate use.  The Inspector decided the 30 caravans was modest and BAA’s own caravan park would remain available so there were insufficient special circumstances. DCS 100036885.  May 2005.

Mobile home OK at Herts GB kennels.  Permission was granted for three years after very special circumstances were given .  Kennels had animal welfare and security needs requiring 24-hour staff presence on site in order to comply with the kennels licence.  The council argued that someone living 5 minutes drive away would suffice, but the Inspector ruled that the licence required on-site staff at all times.  The stated level of investment showed a commitment to a long-term and financially viable business.  The mobile home would provide adequate accommodation.  The Inspector agreed with the council that the site history showed abuse of the planning system and the kennels were now separated from the dwelling, but this did not affect his ruling on the need for on-site accommodation.  Any concerns of separating the kennels from the kennels could be met by occupancy conditions.  DCS 44175025.  Oct 2004.

Caravan conversion created a permanent dwelling in Lancs GB.  Temporary permission was granted in 1991 to retain a caravan on the site.  When the time limit expired it was not removed, and a chimney breast, kitchen alcove and porch had been added.  In 2000 a cert of lawfulness was issued for the caravan and extensions.  An application was refused for a replacement dwelling which would be 25% larger, also taller and bulkier.  The Inspector dismissed the appeal since it would reduce the openness of the countryside.  The existing structure was effectively a permanent dwelling since removal of the caravan would cause the extension to collapse, but no very special circumstances had been put forward.  DCS 30602873.  Sept 2004.

Berks GB caravans enforcement order validity.  Residential caravans were sited at dog kennels, and an enforcement order against this use was validly served having been affixed to the entrance gates.  Although the Inspector agreed the council could have done more to effect service, it was valid.  The appeal claimed permission under General Permitted Development order 1995 part 5, allowing occupation by workers employed in carrying out building or engineering operations.  The 40or so caravans were used by workers extracting gravel for construction of Heathrow terminal 5.  The Inspector ruled that this did not include mining , which elsewhere could continue for several years.  He agreed there was a shortage of accommodation for workers in the project but this did not overrule green belt policies, and did not breach their human rights.  DCS 30419771.  April 2004.

Coventry GB land cannot be used to store touring caravans – The Inspector ruled that it would compromise the openness of the countryside and visual amenity of the GB.  Although PP7 supports diversity of farm economies, the scale of this development far out-weighed any commercial benefits.  DCS 45620872.  April 2003

Mobile home at Brentwood (Essex) GB chicken farm refused – The High Court upheld an enforcement order for its removal.  An Inspector had decided the mobile home harmed the openness and visual amenity of the GB, with insufficient agricultural justification.  The judge said that PPG2 and PPG7 had been reasonably and sensibly interpreted.  Batt v SoSLTR 4.June 2003.  Ref CO/1907/2003.

Caravan at GB fish farm refused – In 1996 permission was granted for the temporary siting of a caravan at a Surrey fish farm pending an assessment of whether the fish farm could become viable.  Subsequently permission was refused to extend the permission to 2004 and an enforcement notice was issued.  The Inspector disagreed on the need for an on-site presence.  The enterprise had not proved an adequate demand for table carp, so there was no very special circumstance to justify retention.  DCS 34751723.  June 2003.

Essex mobile home no immune -  Two mobile homes had been joined together in 1998 to form a single unit that could not be moved from the site.  It was argued that this building work had created a single dwelling house, the four-year rule on immunity from enforcement applied.  The Council argued that the unauthorised development involved the stationing of a mobile home, to which a ten-year rule applied, and served a series of enforcement orders against the timber-clad mobile home.  The Inspector said Bradford CC v SoSEnv 1978 supported the view that the cladding did not bring it with what is now S55(2)(a) of TCPAct 1990.  Also there was no proof of the work being completed more than four years before the notices were issued.  On planning merits, the appellant would suffer hardship if the home was demolished, but their inability to afford local housing and need to educate the growing family in local schools did not override the harm to the GB.  DCS344444874520.  June 2003.

Caravan storage at Greater Manchester GB farm refused - it was not justified as agricultural diversity, the Inspector ruled. The appellant's pig-breeding business had collapsed so he wanted to diversify into storage of caravans, in line with PPG7. The Inspector noted that this was not in the accpetable uses listed in annex C of PPG7. While that list was not exhaustive, the new use had to be compatible with the location, and this use was entirely unrelated to the character of the farm holding. DCS 34133475. May 2003

Kent GB 20-caravan park condition is valid - Planning permission restricted occupation to between March and December and for no more than 28 days at any one time. The appellant claimed that 'occupation by any individual for more than 28 days' was open to interpretation. But the Inspector decided it was clear and precise i.e. leaving possessions but not actually staying in the caravan was still 'occupation'. Removal of this condition would enable unfettered occupation and reduce the openness. It would reduce the availability of holiday accommodation and increase car journies. DCS 53711920 march 2003.

Mobile home at Herts stables refused - The Inspector upheld an enforcement order for the removal of an unauthorside mobile home at hunting kennels, saying there was no need for anyone to live permanently on site. It was not an essential small-scale facility for outdoor sport, and harmed the openness of the countryside. The appellant had argued that it assisted in maintaining a rural activity - fox-hunting - and reduce the risk of preditors. E Herts DC, 18 Nov 2002. DCS 33387105

Caravan did not breach planning control - Not in the GB, but of interest. The Inspector quashed an enforcement oprder alleging a material change of use when a caravan for human habitation was put on a site in Kent, holding that this was within a lawful development certificate (LDC). The Council had issued a LDC for a caravan for leisure & holiday purposes from March to October. Another caravan was also put on site for all-year use. The Inspector found that the LDC did not require removal of the caravan between Nov & Feb so there was no material change of use in that period. The second caravan was not a major degree of intensification. The LDC did not prevent a second caravan nor the permanent occupation. Swale BC 5 Nov 2002 DCS 44311561

Summerhouse & mobile home cannot be replaced by log cabin on banks of Thames - Occupancy of the existing structures were legally restricted to 1Marcyh to 31 October, and for leisure and recreational use. They were well shielded from view. A log cabin would be more substantial and be a permanent residence with was inappropriate in the GB. It would significantly increase the amount of ground covered in the flood plain contrary to PPG25 on flooding. Putting the cabin on piers would not guarantee retaining flood capacity because they might obstruct flood debris. RB Windsor & Maidenhead 10 April 2002 DCS 56930158.

Portakabin at Gloucs Garden centre involved a building operation - The Inspector decide that although the portakabin could be moved with a forklift truck, its size permanence, and degree of physical attachment meant that it was a building and an operational development had therefore taken place. He upheld an enforcement order alleging the carrying out of a building operation. The Town & County Planning Act 1990 S336 defines what constitutes a building. On planning merits, the cabin reduced the openness of the GB even though it was screened from many viewpoints, and there was no need for its use as an office. S Glocs Council 27 Dec 2001. DCS 39024652

Caravan refused at Bell Bar, near Hatfield -The Inspector dismissed an appeal to retain a residential caravan at stables in the Herts GB. The siting did not comply with the District Plan which did not include residential caravans as appropriate development in the GB. Although the appellant cited malicious attacks on horses elsewhere in the county, the stables had operated previously without anyone living on the site. Also the stables currently appeared to be operating without planning permission which weighed against the proposal. There were no very special circumstances to justify the loss of openness and encroachment on to the countryside. Welwyn Hatfield Council 14 Nov 2001.

Caravan refused at Hatfield GB stables -The Inspector dismissed an appeal to retain a residential caravan at stables in the GB at the Firs Farm stables, Woodside Lane, Bell Bar, near Hatfield, Herts. The siting did not comply with the District Plan, which did not include residential caravans as appropriate development in the GB. Although the appellant cited malicious attacks on horses elsewhere in the county, the stables had operated previously without anyone living on the site. Also the stables currently appeared to be operating without planning permission which weighed against the proposal. There were no very special circumstances to justify the loss of openness and encroachment on to the countryside. Welwyn Hatfield Council 14 Nov 2001.

Mobile home removed (not in GB) - The High Court upheld an enforcement order to remove a caravan (& attached porch and conservatory). The unauthorised development was subject to valid enforcement notices requiring its removal, and convictions for non-compliance were secured in 1999. The owners argued that the mobile home was lawful and its removal would breach their human rights. the judge noted the clear breach of planning regulations and the Court was there to uphold the law. the protection of the environment was a legitimate aim and there would be no violation of the owner's human rights. Macclesfield BC v McMahon 9 May 2001. Ref CO/2171/2000

Static caravan & agricultural buildings accepted in Selby GB - the Inspector approved an agricultural storage barn and livestock building and a static caravan with full costs awarded to the appellant. the new buildings had been recommended by the officers and would improve the viability of the holding by increasing livestock numbers. They were appropriate in the GB because they were reasonably required for agriculture. The temporary caravan was also justified by clear evidence that the appellant would develop the holding and increase agricultural activity. Costs were awarded because the Council disregarded the conclusions of two agricultural consultants and its planning officers that the caravan was necessary. The appellant's commitment to enter into a legal agreement to provide a full appraisal should a permanent dwelling be sought also justified costs. Selby DC 4 April 2001. DCS No. 31520558.

Mobile home in Tonbridge GB refused in part due to possible flooding risk - Gypsies were refused permission to retain a mobile home in the Metropolitan GB, in part because of a serious risk of flooding at a site in the Medway floodplain. The Inspector found no very special circumstances to override GB policies, because there was no need for the appellant's son to have his own pitch. The Inspector said that refusal would not violate the appellant's human rights. Tonbridge and Malling Council - 6 Nov 2000 - APP/H2265/A/00/1046498

Caravan to remain in GB due to planning history. - The Inspector upheld an appeal to retain a residential caravan, a touring caravan and greenhouse on Dorset GB land. The Council argued in Court that the Inspector had erroneously taken into account the long history of residential use of the site. They also claimed the Inspector had not properly balanced the harm caused by inappropriate development. the Judge decided otherwise - the period of residential use was relevant. Christchurch Council 8 Nov 2000 - CO/4288/1999

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