Precise wording of lawful development certificate paramount in caravan site appeal

The lawful use of a caravan site for permanent occupation in Shropshire was allowed on the grounds the wording of the certificate did not specifically restrict the use or the type of caravans, contrary to advice in national policy guidance.

The case related to the use of an existing caravan site for permanent occupation which had already been granted a lawful development certificate for caravan use but with "occupation by the Caravan Club 1970" referred to. The council believed this extant LDC description restricted the use of the site to caravan club members and touring caravans/motorhomes only and was not for permanent occupation throughout the year. In looking at the extant LDC, however, the inspector referred to the PPG advice requiring unambiguity and precision in the wording of certificates to spell out the characteristics of the matter. He also referred to the definition of a caravan site set out in case law and precedent, namely Wyre Forest v SOS1990, which states that the persons or organisation in occupation cannot alter this definition.

The inspector held the extant LDC made no specific reference to the type of caravans or restrictions to the type of use of the site other than in the reasoning for granting the certificate, which was not sufficient. Indeed, there was no such entity as the Caravan Club 1970 and it was incorrect to expect holders of the certificate to have to look up articles and bylaws of an organisation to understand the scope of a certificate. He concluded the permanent use of the caravan site for human habitation was lawful.

Inspector: Aidan McCooey; Written Representations

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