Mobile homes needed to support labour movement

In granting permission for the siting of six mobile homes to house seasonal workers at a farm in Kent an inspector agreed that they would support the movement of workers across the country.

Temporary permission had been granted in 2004 but the council refused to grant a permanent consent claiming that it would increase travel demand and harm the character of the area. It also alleged that the justification for the six caravans had not been demonstrated. In response, the appellant stated that historically four workers had occupied each mobile home when the holding extended to almost eight hectares. The holding had contracted with the loss of some glasshouses but the demographic make-up of the labour was towards couples who needed their own mobile homes, and four people in each was no longer acceptable. Consequently, 12 employees required six mobile homes, he argued.

The inspector accepted that six mobile homes appeared to be about the right number to meet the needs of the holding and the effect of extending the European economic community and the freedom of movement was a material consideration. Providing accommodation on site would reduce journey movements and enabled the appellant to produce fresh produce for local consumption thereby reducing the ‘food miles’ to market. The mobile homes were sited behind a fence and partially landscaped such that their impact on the character and appearance of the area was limited. In allowing the appeal a condition was imposed requiring the removal of any mobile home which was not used for two consecutive calendar years.

Inspector Stephen Papworth; Hearing

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