Landowner's former mobile home saved by Ansons planning expert

23rd October 2012

A Planning Inspector has ruled that a former mobile home can continue to be used as a dwelling in an unusual decision in a planning appeal, made by Planning Solicitor David Anderton.

Making modifications to your home is standard practice for most homeowners, with clear guidelines for when planning permission is required. The law on modifications to mobile homes and other structures to be used as a “dwelling” has not been so clear. Therefore breach of planning permission and which time limit applies for enforcement have been muddy waters for planners and the public alike. Fortunately, some clarity has now been provided following a planning appeal case led by Planning Solicitor David Anderton of Ansons Solicitors in Lichfield.  

The case concerned a landowner who had renovated a dilapidated mobile home that was situated in his own yard, which he later lived in. Under the Caravan Sites and Control of  Development Act 1960, a mobile home of certain limited dimensions  is not considered to be a building (as long as it is capable of being moved).  When he refurbished the mobile home to live in , he added a concrete base which effectively changed it into a “building” and this required planning permission.

As it had been modified more than 4 years ago, the Council accepted that the former mobile home was now immune from planning enforcement on the change in its status to a building. However they sought to stop it being used as “a dwelling”.

David Anderton represented the landowner and established that the mobile home had been continuously lived in since it had been modified. He contended that the four year immunity rule applied. 

The inspector accepted this contention on the facts. He also drew attention to this quotation from Lord Mance's judgment in Welwyn Hatfield Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (2011) UKSC15 “once a planning authority has allowed the four year period for enforcement against the building to pass, principles of fairness and good governance could, in appropriate circumstances preclude it from subsequently taking enforcement steps to render the building useless.”

The Inspector also ruled that the residential use of the mobile home had not resulted in any breach of planning control against which enforcement could be taken.

For expert advice on all aspects of planning law including planning permission, enforcement notices and appeals procedure contact David Anderton at Ansons Solicitors, Lichfield on 01543 263456


This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances.  Please note that the law may have changed since the date this article was published.