Do I need planning permission to keep a caravan in my garden?

What is planning permission?

Planning permission is a form of consent secured by developers and/or private individuals from a local authority for the erection, alteration or redevelopment of a particular plot of land or building.

Securing a planning permission is often mandatory where development of land is involved.

What is a caravan?

Under s 29 of the Caravan Sites and Control Development Act 1960, a caravan is any kind of structure built for human habitation which is capable of being moved from one place to another.

To be classed as a caravan, the structure must not measure more than 20m in length, 6.8m in width, and the overall height of living accommodation (measured internally from the floor at the lowest level to the ceiling at the highest level) must not be more than 3.05m.

Under the Mobile Homes Act 2013, a ‘twin unit caravan’ is a structure designed or adapted for human habitation which:

  • is composed of not more than two sections separately constructed and designed to be assembled on a site by means of bolts, clamps or other devices; and
  • is, when assembled, physically capable of being moved by road from one place to another (whether by being towed, or by being transported on a motor vehicle or trailer).

Do I need planning permission?

You do not need planning permission to park a caravan in your driveway or garden as long as it is being used as an annex of your home. This means it can be used as if it were part of the house (for example, an extra bedroom) by members of your immediate family or occasionally by friends but you can’t hire it out (for example, for holidays) or use it as a completely separate dwelling from your home.

You must also ensure that no new access is made to a trunk or classified road, or that an existing access is altered. Make sure also that your caravan is not obstructing any footway or road, or that the view of drivers or pedestrians using an adjacent road is not blocked, especially at or near a bend, corner or junction.

Even if planning permission isn’t required, you need to check your property deeds to ensure there aren’t any terms that limit or forbid the parking of a caravan in your own garden or backyard. This limitation is most common in urban housing estates.

You should also check Article 4 Directions issued by your local council which provide additional planning control in a particular location.

If the caravan becomes the main part or your only dwelling, you need to get planning permission from your local authority.

Types of planning permission

Detailed planning permission: also known as the full planning permission, a detailed planning permission is valid for five years from the date of its issue. This type of permission is advisable if you are decided about your property development or redevelopment.

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For more information on:

  • How to apply for a planning permission