DC Casebook: Housing: New Build - Personal case fails to tip caravan balance

An inspector has upheld an enforcement notice requiring a couple to stop living in a caravan in Devon after finding that the case for allowing them to remain at the site is finely balanced.

The appellants occupied land owned by a retired couple. The owners had used the caravan as overspill accommodation for their family and for trainees at their doctor's surgery nearby. The appellants claimed that they carried out tasks for the owners, managed deer on a neighbouring property and took commercial wildlife photographs.

The inspector noted that the site was isolated, with the nearest village a 45-minute walk away. He recognised that the appellants worked in the locality and did not have the same need to travel to larger centres as a family might. However, he concluded that the use did not comply with the principles of sustainable development, in part because the occupiers were car-dependent.

He accepted that there would be benefits in allowing them to remain in the countryside to continue assisting the landowners. However, this did not outweigh the conflict with planning policies to restrict residential development in the countryside. Permission was refused, with the period for compliance extended to 12 months.

Inspector: Simon Hand; Hearing

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