The issue of permanence has been discussed in a couple of DCP Blogs – Just kidding around and Permanent markers. Together with another recent case in Staffordshire (DCS Number 400-018-313), the evidence suggests that placing a structure on wheels following enforcement action will not beat the system.
The Staffordshire case concerned a timber-framed car wash canopy which had been mounted on wheels. The inspector noted the canopy was originally a permanent structure. He acknowledged that following the modification it would be a relatively straightforward matter to move the structure within the site, or to dismantle and remove it altogether. However, in terms of the operation of the site, the positioning adjacent to the portacabin and the site drainage was critical, for functional reasons, and for site safety and the stability of the canopy. Without the ability to rest the timber beams on the portacabin, he observed, the canopy would be highly unstable. In his assessment, the positioning of the canopy within the site was, for all practical intents and purposes, fixed such that it would not serve its intended purpose if moved from its present position.
The inspector judged that the mounting on wheels was in effect no more than an expedient carried out in response to the planning history of the site, rather than being indicative of an intention to make the canopy genuinely moveable. Accordingly, he found that the canopy was a building as defined in Section 336(1) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and its erection was a building operation constituting development as defined by Section 55 (1) of the Act. In the absence of any relevant planning permission, he concluded that there had been a breach of planning control.