Still no

In It ain’t necessarily so we reported an appeal case in which a certificate of lawfulness was issued for a mobile home within a residential curtilage despite the council’s concern that it could be used as a separate unit of accommodation. What if a mobile home were to be built and assembled on site? Surely then it would need planning permission? Still no.

In (DCS Number 400-022-192) an LDC was issued for a mobile home to be used as ancillary accommodation at a house in Kent, even though it would arrive at the site in two parts. The inspector explained:

“The term ‘caravan’ is defined by statute. It means a structure designed or adapted for human habitation which is capable of being moved from one place to another (whether by being towed or by being transported on a motor vehicle or trailer). The structure can comprise a twin unit caravan which is defined as one that is composed of not more than two sections separately constructed and designed to be assembled on site by means of bolts, clamps or other devices and is when assembled physically capable of being moved by road from one place to another. The structure must not exceed specified dimensions. These prerequisites are generally known as the size, mobility and construction tests.”

The issue in dispute, the inspector noted, was whether the construction test was met. She recorded that the structure was to be built as two sections on site and then joined together. She explained that there is established law that there is no requirement that the process of creating the two separate sections must take place away from the land. The mobile home would therefore satisfy the construction test, she determined. The council further argued that assembling all components on the site itself would necessitate the installation of electrics and plumbing which would comprise building works and thus operational development. The inspector was not convinced, however, that these were separate acts of operational development. She decided that the mobile home would not amount to development requiring planning permission.

Further information on this subject can be found at section 24.61 of DCP Online.