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Construction of two sections of caravan on-site accepted as lawful

A replacement twin-unit mobile home meeting the definition of a caravan has been granted a lawful development certificate in open countryside in Essex and the council’s decision to refuse it held as not well-founded.

In considering the three tests of size, construction and mobility that a structure must meet to be defined as a caravan and not a building, the inspector was satisfied that the structure was within the maximum limits under the size test set out in the Caravan Sites Act 1968 as amended. In terms of the construction test, the inspector accepted the appellant’s evidence that the structure had been formed from no more than two sections that had been separately constructed on-site for joining together in a final act of assembly by means of bolts, clamps or other devices (although this was yet to occur). He held this approach was entirely in accord with the wording of the above Act and was not inconsistent with the case in Byrne v SSE and Arun District Council, 1997 where the log cabin had been assembled from more than two sections.

The inspector disagreed with another appeal interpretation that the statutory test requires the two sections to be constructed off-site as that was not the wording of the statute in his opinion, should all three tests be met. He opined that the fact that the sections (before the final act of assembly) had been constructed of a considerable number of building materials and components was not relevant. Finally, the appellant’s technical evidence attested the caravan could still be moved without structural damage and the inspector was persuaded by this evidence. He concluded the structure was a caravan and not a building amounting to operational development.


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