LDC granted for gypsy caravan site

An inspector allowed an appeal and granted a lawful development certificate for use of land as a residential caravan site outside a Cambridgeshire market town.

The appeal site accessed off the town by-pass encompassed twelve pitches. The council’s argument for not issuing an LDC was that the residential use of the site as a caravan site was permitted by a 1996 permission which had lawfully commenced, holding that deviations from the permitted site layout were minor, and occupation was limited by condition to gypsies. The council also relied on an earlier 2015 appeal decision refusing an LDC for use as residential caravan site without complying with the requirements of the planning permission.

The council argued the mere presence of residential caravans occupied by gypsies would have been sufficient to establish the implementation of the 1996 permission. The inspector disagreed because this rationale overlooked the meaning of the permission consisting of both operational development and a material change in the use of the land. Since the development permitted required considerable engineering or other operations, the use had to come after these had been carried out. In the absence of a required slip road and turning head and with the sewage treatment plant partly on land outside of the application site, the current use did not fall within the scope of the 1996 permission and the council’s refusal to issue a LDC was not well founded.

Inspector: A Ghafoor; Inquiry

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