When is a caravan not a caravan?

A ‘horridly complex’ legal discussion over what is and isn’t a caravan has ended with a Long Sutton resident failing in a bid to extend their garden.

Seagate Farm on Seagate Road in Long Sutton applied to South Holland District Council for change of use permission to turn a portion of agricultural land into a property’s garden.
Currently on the land is a building that looks from documents submitted like a bunglow, but has also been claimed to be a caravan.
Though not part of the application, South Holland District Council’s Planning Committee heard that caravans can be placed in gardens without planning permission.
Officers had recommended councillors accept turning the land into a garden because they felt it was a building with brick foundations that needed planning permission.
If so, officers could carry out subsequent enforcement action for a habitable building that’s in open countryside in planning terms.
“If that’s a caravan, I’m Pope John Paul II,” said Coun Chris Brewis.
But Coun Paul Barnes, claimed he’d seen the building go in as two separate sections on wheels with the bricks being built around, which, he said, still made it legally a caravan.
Planning Committee chair James Avery proposed refusing the application which councillors unanimously agreed on.
“There’s a building on site that’s being lived in,” he said. “I do feel if we approve this we tick a box on a road map that might lead to planning permission for said building.
“It’s in the countryside and I don’t think it’s sustainable.
“I do think there’s a level of character harm but it’s not necessary in this application.”
Speaking before the refusal and on behalf of the applicant Mrs Hoey, Shanna Jackson of agent Swan Edwards had said: “The new landscaping will help soften the appearance of any domestic paraphernalia within the new garden area as well providing ecological interest to the site.
“The land is not actively farmed so no loss of agricultural land will be lost. We’re just seeking the land for residential purposes.”

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