Desperately in need of a dose of Vitamin Sea, we’ve been watching Cornwall and Devon Walks with Julia Bradbury on ITV. Julia described the coastal town of Salcombe as ‘chi chi’ so it probably ought not to come as a surprise that a camping barn there might be better described as luxury than rudimentary (DCS Number 400-029-508).
In determining the appeal against an enforcement notice alleging a breach of the condition that the development should not be used otherwise than as a camping barn for the provision of short let holiday accommodation, the inspector found it necessary to consider the term “camping barn”.
The council took the view that, given the layout and type of accommodation provided, the holiday use that had taken place could not fall within the limitation of being a “camping barn” as set out in the description of development and as repeated within the condition. The inspector recorded that there is no legal interpretation of “camping barn” as there is for other uses of buildings such as, for example, dwellinghouse which in itself has come about through settled case law. He reasoned that he needed to consider the term “camping barn” taking the ordinary meaning of the words. He noted that the various dictionary definitions of “camping” revolve around the act of staying and sleeping in an outside area for one or more days and nights, usually in a tent. He held that the normal sense of what a barn is, is along the lines of a large building on a farm where animals, hay, grain or equipment are stored. He found that there was no literal interpretation that could be made when conjoining the words. However, in his view a reasonable interpretation was that it was somewhere that people could stay in communal groups in a simple, rudimentary way as they would when camping, albeit within a large, covered building. In this way, it would be similar perhaps to the term bothy or bunkhouse.
From the evidence provided, it appeared to the inspector on the balance of probability that the use that had taken place had gone beyond the scope of the planning condition as it could not be reasonably considered to have been occupied as a “camping barn”.
There is a section on conditions relevant to holiday dwellings at 9.54 of DCP Online.