Do I Need Planning Permission To Keep A Caravan in My Garden?

Definition of a Planning Permission

Planning permission is a form of consent secured by developers and/or private individuals with regards certain property. The permission is secured so that these persons can build, alter the use of, or redevelop a particular plot of land or building.

Most often, securing a planning permission is mandatory where development of land is involved.

What is the meaning of ‘development’ in securing planning permission?

The term is defined as carrying out the process of building, mining, or other operations in relation thereto, engineering, over or under the land or the act of making any material change in the use of any building or other land.

Definition of a Caravan

The law defines a caravan as any kind of structure built for human habitation which is capable of being moved from one place to another. This definition was derived from Section 29 of the Caravan Sites and Control Development Act 1960.

A supplementary definition of a caravan said it must be capable of being moved whether by being towed or being transported on a motor vehicle or trailer.

Another law, known as The Mobile Homes Act 1968, further adds a ‘twin unit mobile home’ as part of this classification which the law mandates to conform to certain requirements on structure and dimension.

The Need a Planning Permission

Essentially, you do not need a planning permission to keep a caravan in your garden. The laws are not stringent about parking a caravan in your own garden provided that the nature of its parking is only temporary.

You do not need a planning permission if the caravan is considered an annex of your home either. You need to establish this fact though. You have to prove that the caravan maintains a moveable status. But if it becomes the main part or your only dwelling, you would need a planning permission for the same.

A caravan in your garden enjoys a ‘mobile’ status if it is considered as incidental to the enjoyment of your home; which means it is an addition to your home and not a separate unit.

But a planning permission is necessary if you plan to make the caravan in your garden as a separate dwelling place for you.

You should also ensure that your caravan is not obstructing any footway or road.

However, you need to check your property deed if the terms limit or forbid the parking of a caravan in your own garden or backyard. This limitation is most common in urban housing estates.

It would also help if you check Article 4 Directions issued by the Council. This is more in line with property which is considered part of conservation areas.

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.

Outline Planning Permission

This is valid for three years from the date of issuance. You can avail of this if you still would like to test the waters before you take the development or redevelopment of your property to full swing.

How to Apply for a Planning Permission

You have two choices in proceeding with this step: first, you can hire a developer to handle the architectural and building aspects whilst you handle the administrative matters such as filing for a planning permission; or second, you can hire a planning consultant and have that person handle everything for you.

Ideally, the second one is more convenient. But if you are cutting on costs, you can just proceed to file the application on your own.

What are the steps necessary in securing a planning permission by yourself?

Here are a few guides in starting you off to secure that planning permission:
  • Check with your city or town council if your project—keeping a caravan in your garden—would require a planning permission.

  • Consult your neighbours about your plans regarding keeping a caravan in your garden, especially if it will be located near their property. It would be unwise if they will only find out about your plans through a letter from the council. And you would want your neighbours to be on your side once you begin your plans since they will be most likely affected by it.

  • Discuss your intentions about the caravan and its location with the council’s planning department. This department can provide you guidelines on the structure and design associated with your location. The staff here can also advise you whether you should go for a detailed or an outline planning permission. Consulting these people will spare you from excessive costs and frustrations later on.

  • Forward your formal application for planning permission. You can either do this by post or online. You need to submit a completed application form, a plan of the site, and a copy of the sketches showing the proposed plan. The planning department will provide you an application form and furnish you information regarding the application fee and particular drawings required