Historically, the council had sought to prevent unrestricted permanent residential occupation of the caravans by requiring a two-month closed period, an approach incorporated in its local plan. The appellant proposed to reduce the closed period to just two weeks. The inspector acknowledged that this could make it easier for occupiers to live permanently on the site and simply take a holiday during the closed period. It would also make it more difficult for the council to take action against any breach of the condition, she added.
However, she pointed out that the council's approach departed from that set out in the DCLG's Good Practice Guide on Planning for Tourism, which distinguishes between holiday and seasonal occupancy conditions. She observed that the guide cites protection of the local environment as an example of a reason to restrict use during particular times of the year.
She noted that there had been no suggestion that a seasonal restriction was needed for this reason or because the site or caravans were unsuitable for use during the winter months. She allowed the appeal subject to conditions that the caravans should only be occupied for holiday purposes and that the site operators should maintain a register of all occupiers.
DCS Number 100-050-482
Inspector Jane Miles; Hearing.