Mobile homes and connecting structure are not operational development

A lawful development certificate for the use of two connecting mobile homes as a dwelling house was refused at a farm in Devon on the grounds that it constituted a change in use of the land and was not operational development.

The main consideration in this case was whether the development on site consisting of two mobile homes and a timber connecting structure comprised a building representing operational development for which the four-year immunity rule applied or the use of land for which the ten-year rule applied.

The inspector referred to Skerritts of Nottingham Ltd v SSETR, 2000,where three primary factors were decisive in what constituted a building (a) that it was of a size to be constructed on site, as opposed to being brought on to the site, (b) had permanence, and (c) had physical attachment. He felt the major part of the structure for the residential use in the appeal was represented by two mobile homes which had been constructed off-site and appeared to remain on a sub-frame with either non-structural blockwork or boarded skirts at their base. Although the mobile homes were connected to services, the service connections could be easily undone, and the mobile homes could potentially be moved or lifted through the use of appropriate equipment. On this basis the inspector held operational development could not be concluded. Although he accepted the connecting block between the mobile homes did constitute operational development, he also felt it was of insufficient significance to categorically alter the planning status of the land from the siting of a mobile home for the purposes of residential use to that of a permanent building.

Inspector: Peter Jarratt; Written representations

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