Caravan deemed incidental

A lawful development certificate for the stationing of a caravan at a house in Norfolk was granted as incidental to the residential use of a dwelling mainly on the grounds of a lack of evidence to contradict the appellant's case.

The council refused to issue a lawful development certificate because it considered that the use of the caravan was not incidental to the enjoyment of the existing dwelling at the site. Rather, it considered that the caravan was sited to be used as a primary residence by other family members and formed a separate planning unit and therefore a material change of use had occurred. This, they argued, was due to the distance separating the caravan from the cottage, the presence of a fence between them, the facilities available to those occupying the caravan and the existence of a separate access. The appellant argued, however, that the dwelling was occupied by themselves, their mother and their daughter whilst the caravan provided sleeping and private space for the appellant’s brother and sister-in-law as the house’s living accommodation was very limited. The brother and sister-in-law provided care in the house for the appellant’s elderly mother and young daughter. 

The inspector referred to the PPG on LDCs stating that an appellant’s case should be accepted if there was no evidence to contradict or otherwise make his or her version of events less than probable. On this basis, he held the submitted evidence suggested that the site as a whole was occupied by family members, the residents providing mutual care and support and living as an extended family. The sharing of electricity supply and provision for foul sewage disposal between the cottage and the caravan was consistent with that. He held the distance between the caravan and the cottage would not prevent the caravan being used in a manner incidental to the enjoyment of the cottage nor would the fence. Indeed, the fence had since been removed. The two accesses, according to the appellant, were already in existence before the caravan was introduced and without any evidence to the contrary the inspector accepted that. The inspector concluded on the balance of probabilities that the stationing of the mobile home was incidental to  the house, had not resulted in the creation of a separate planning unit or led to a material change of use of the land. 

Inspector: Keri Williams; Written representations

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