Size of agricultural holding irrelevant in determining ancillary use

An appeal against the unauthorised change use of land to provide permanent welfare facilities for agricultural workers in a caravan in North Lanarkshire was allowed and the enforcement notice quashed on the grounds that a breach of planning control had not occurred.

The caravan had been stationed at the appeal site since 2012 and was used for storage of animal foodstuffs and as a welfare facility  for agricultural workers to make meals and for shelter. The appellant did not claim that the caravan was permitted development under Class 16 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Order 1992, nor did he claim that the caravan was a building under section 26(2) of the Act. Rather, the owner maintained a change of use of the land had not occurred in the first place since the caravan was being used for purposes ancillary to the agricultural use of the appeal site. The appellant justified this stance by referring to Wealden District Council v Secretary of State for the Environment and Colin Day, 1987. In the judgment, Lord Justice Ralph Gibson took the view that a caravan could be used as an ordinary piece of equipment on an agricultural unit and that there was no reason why uses such as storing and mixing of feed, some office work and the taking of shelter could not be carried out in such a caravan. In that case, such use of the caravan was ultimately held to be ancillary to the agricultural use of the land. 

The reporter held that this judgment appeared to support the appellant’s argument and concluded that a breach of planning control had not occurred, and therefore the enforcement notice should be quashed. In reaching this conclusion the reporter discounted the concerns of the nearest residents that the agricultural use of the site was so infrequent or so limited that there could be no need to have a caravan for the types of activities listed by the appellant. That, the reporter opined, was a matter for the owner and worker of the land and was not relevant. 

Reporter: David Liddell; Written representations

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