Q: A residential caravan has had its wheels and axle removed and is encased in a concrete base. One side elevation has been cut off and a brick shower extension attached in its place. A brick porch has been constructed off the front door and a connection to a septic tank has been installed. How long would it take for this development to become immune from enforcement? MF

A: The caravan has ceased to constitute use of land as a caravan site and constitutes building and other operational development, so it gains immunity after four years. In Brown and Brown v First Secretary of State and Chelmsford Borough Council [2003], the courts accepted an inspector's argument that a combination of two mobile homes used as a single dwelling, which had no wheels and was incapable of being dismantled without causing its disintegration, amounted to a building operation. In that case, however, the appeal failed as cladding of the two units was required to make the dwelling weathertight and this had been finished less than four years earlier.

Ian Currie

In an appeal case from Cheshire (

), concrete had been laid over the sub-frame and axle of a caravan. One end was left open for access, but there were no other alterations. We argued that the works amounted to operational development. The inspector agreed and quashed an enforcement notice. The caravan to which MF refers appears to have more alterations, so I would say the four-year rule applies. Rachel Thornley


Can the upgrading or modification of radar instruments on civil and military airports be addressed through a planning condition on a wind energy developer when permission is given for nearby turbines? I struggle to grasp how such a condition could pass the tests in Circular 11/95 on conditions when the applicant has no interest in the land in question, the developer has no power to carry out the mitigation detailed in the condition and the mitigation works would need the consent or authorisation of a third party to carry out. Surely the correct approach is to deal with this via a section 106 agreement between the airport operator, the planning authority and the developer? MP

Permission was granted for a class A3 restaurant and cafe use subject to conditions such as restrictions on operating hours. Following its implementation, the building's use was changed to class A1 retail under the provisions of the General Permitted Development Order 1995 as amended. Do the conditions on the A3 permission still apply to the A1 use? SP

Do you have an answer to these questions? If so, please email it to Forum editor John Harrison at by 7 November. We also welcome your queries, which can be emailed to the same address.

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