Caravan Park Home Log Cabins - Planning Law - Case Studies

Appeal Decision
Site visit made on 29 November 2010
by David Baldock MA DipTP DMS MRTPI an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Decision date: 6 January 2011
Appeal Ref: APP/L3245/C/10/2130870 Land at Brook House Farm, Nind, Minsterley SY5 0JW
•    The appeal is made under section 174 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as amended by the Planning and Compensation Act 1991.
•    The appeal is made by Mrs S Ryan against an enforcement notice issued by Shropshire Council.
•    The Council's reference is 09/00612/VAR. •    The notice was issued on 17th May 2010. •    The breach of planning control as alleged in the notice is:
(i) Without planning permission, the change of use of agricultural land to land for the siting of two caravans for the purpose of independent residential use.
(ii) Operational development in the form of the structure which joins the two caravans on the land together.
•    The requirements of the notice are: (i) Cease the use of the land for residential purposes. (ii) Remove the caravans and associated materials, which connect the two caravans
together, from the land. (iii) Remove from the land all equipment/paraphernalia used in connection with this
residential use. •    The period for compliance with the requirements is six months. •    The appeal is proceeding on the grounds set out in section 174(2) (a), (b), (c), and (g)
of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as amended.
Decision
1.
I direct that the enforcement notice be corrected and varied by:
A. Deleting the breach of planning control in section 3 and substituting:
Without planning permission, the carrying out of building or other operations on the land by the placing of two caravans and the erection of central lobby accommodation, the whole being used as residential accommodation which is not incidental to the occupation of Brook House Farm.
B. Deleting the requirements in section 5 and substituting: (i)    Remove the caravans and connecting central lobby accommodation
from the land. (ii)    Remove any materials used in the construction of the lobby. (iii) Removeanyequipmentandparaphernaliabroughtontothelandin
connection with the use of the caravans and lobby.
C. Deleting 6 months as the time for compliance in section 6 and substituting one year.
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Appeal Decision APP/L3245/C/10/2130870
2.    Subject to these corrections and variations I dismiss the appeal, uphold the enforcement notice, and refuse to grant planning permission on the application deemed to have been made under section 177(5) of the 1990 Act as amended.
Grounds (b) and (c)
3.    The development the subject of the notice consists of two large caravans1 and a central structure which provides access and additional accommodation. The central structure has been very substantially and soundly constructed from timber. The caravans have been largely retained in their original form and the structure as a whole rests on the land rather than having a foundation. One caravan is not fully equipped at present and is used for incidental storage. The other contains the kitchen, toilet and washing facilities but there is no bed. In the central lobby there is a boiler serving radiators in a caravan, a washing machine, dryer, refrigerator and freezer. I was also shown the interior of Brook House Farm. There is a ground floor bedroom in the Farm with an outside door and I accept the evidence for the appellant that she sleeps there and not in the caravan.
4.    My conclusion following the site visit was that the distinction in the notice between a use for the siting of caravans and operational development by the creation of the central structure is artificial and incorrect. Although the project may not be fully complete (in relation to the use of the second caravan), what has been created is essentially a fixed structure which is not intended to be moved. Substantial works of construction were involved in its formation. Although not fixed to the land, it could not realistically be moved. I therefore proposed a correction to the allegation, which would become “the carrying out of building or other operations on the land by the placing of two caravans and the erection of central lobby accommodation, the whole being used as residential accommodation which is not incidental to the occupation of Brook House Farm”. The parties were asked for their comments on this in letters dated 6th December and a reply was received on behalf of the appellant which sets out a common position agreed with the Council. The suggested correction is accepted and in consequence it is agreed that the ground (b) and (c) appeals should be dismissed.
5. That is how I intend to proceed. The letter also contained suggested revised requirements and no comment has been made on these. I shall correct these accordingly if the notice is upheld. The revised requirements would not make the notice more onerous but simply rephrase the original requirements to relate more aptly to what has occurred. None of the corrections would cause injustice.
6.    I do intend to make brief comments on the question of whether the land where the structure has been erected is part of the curtilage of Brook Farm House and also on the use as it is described in the allegation as it is to be corrected.
7.    The only evidence about the historic curtilage of Brook Farm House is an aerial photograph said to have been taken about 20 years ago. From that the land where the caravans are situated does not appear to occupied and used in connection with the use of the dwelling. Looking at current circumstances, the structure is a good way from the house. The area most obviously part of the curtilage is the rear garden directly behind the house. There is also a
1 These would commonly be described as single unit mobile homes
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Appeal Decision APP/L3245/C/10/2130870
greenhouse beyond this which was also present when the photograph was taken and this would also be within the curtilage. However I am unconvinced that the size and extent of the cutilage would include the land where the development has been carried out.
8.    The description of the use in the allegation as it is to be corrected is based on my conclusion that the structure provides residential accommodation occupied separately from the principal occupation of Brook Farm House. However the structure is a not a fully independent dwelling because the bedroom in the house is used.
Ground (a) and the deemed application
9.    The appellant’s case under this ground is that a temporary permission should be granted because of the exceptional personal circumstances. In the first instance it is necessary to review the planning objections to the development, in order to assess whether these are outweighed by the other considerations.
10. The effect of the development is to create a second household at this isolated rural location. Housing development here will be heavily dependent on the use of the private car and this would be contrary to the policies in the development plan, in particular policy P5 in the Structure Plan and SD1 and SD3 in the Local Plan. The site is also in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty where under national policy great weight should be given to the conservation of the natural beauty of the landscape. Although the development would not be visible from public viewpoints there would still be significant harm to the landscape from this substantial and incongruous structure. Additional planting and colouring of the structure would not overcome this.
11. The personal circumstances cited relate both to the appellant and to her ability to assist Mr Hillidge, who occupies Brook Farm House. Letters of support have been received from the appellant’s Doctor, from a local councillor, and from nearby occupiers. The objections to the development at this location are extremely compelling. Whereas I do not dispute the sincerity of the views put forward in support of the appeal they do not outweigh the very considerable arguments against the development. The appeal on ground (a) therefore fails and planning permission will not be granted on the deemed application.
Ground (g)
12. If the notice is upheld the appellant will have to find alternative accommodation and the assistance provided to Mr Hillidge may cease. In my view it would be reasonable to extend the period for compliance in order to provide greater flexibility in making the changes required. I shall therefore extend the period for compliance to one year. To this extent the appeal succeeds on this ground.
David Baldock
INSPECTOR