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Mobile home and caravan sites

You usually need a licence to have a caravan or mobile home on your land.

A caravan is defined as any structure designed or adapted for human habitation which is capable of being moved from one place to another. This is whether it is towed, transported on a motor vehicle or trailer, or any motor vehicle designed or so adapted, but does not include any railway rolling stock or any tent.

The definition was amended by the Caravan Sites Act 1968 to include twin unit caravans provided that they are:

  • composed of not more than two sections separately constructed and designed to be assembled on site by means of bolts, clamps or other devices
  • when assembled, is physically capable of being moved by road from one place to another, whether by being towed or by being transported on a motor vehicle or trailer
  • the maximum size of twin unit caravan was also amended and when assembled shall not exceed:
    • 60 feet (18.288 m) in length
    • 20 feet (6.096 m) in width
    • 10 feet (3.048 m) in height, as measured internally

If you want to apply for a mobile home and caravan site licence, you must complete the application and include a site plan at 1:500 scale showing the layout of roads, caravans and facilities. 

A licence cannot be issued without corresponding planning permission.

For an application form, contact us on 01234 718099 or email ehadmin@bedford.gov.uk.

Land owners who don't need a caravan licence

Land owners must not allow their land to be used as a caravan site unless it has the correct planning permission in place and holds a valid site licence. Exemptions to the licensing system include:

  • incidental use within the boundary of a dwelling house for example, parking an unused caravan in the driveway would be exempt, having a separate household living in there would not be
  • sites approved by certain organisations such as:
    • The Caravan Club
    • The Camping Club of Great Britain and Ireland
    • The Boy Scouts Association
    • The Girl Guides Association 
  • sites occupied by travelling showmen
  • sites owned/occupied by the local authority
  • sites occupied by agricultural/forestry workers on a seasonal basis (this exemption does not apply if the caravans are occupied all year round).

Mobile home park licence fees

  • New application for licence per application fee (per unit fee will vary) £367.40
  • Per unit fee:
    • 1-5 units £264.10
    • 6-10 units £316.90
    • 11-20 units £369.70
    • 21-50 units £528
    • 51-100 units £686.50
    • 100+ units £844.90
  • Annual inspection for Mobile Home Park Licence £6.50 per unit
  • Transfer fee £252.90
  • Variation fee £232.90
  • Fee for local authority holding site rules £102

Mobile home and caravan site legislation

Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
Section 3 places a general duty on site operators to conduct their undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that both residents and the public at large are not exposed to risks to their health and safety. 

Public Health Act 1936
Section 268 applies statutory nuisance provisions (Part III of the Environmental protection Act 1990) to tents, vans, sheds and moveable structures used for human habitation. It also applies sections 83-85 of the 1936 Act concerning filthy or verminous premises.  

Mobile Homes Act 1983
This deals with the protection of security of tenure of residents on caravan sites.

Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
The order requires that a competent person undertake a fire risk assessment of the site and identify the risks present. Recommendations will then be made as to how the risks can be removed or mitigated against. The Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service have enforcement powers relating to the communal areas of caravan sites and may visit, request a copy of the assessment and take action where necessary.

Mobile Homes (Selling and Gifting) (England) Regulations 2013
This amends the process of selling and gifting a home, including the removal of the requirement for site owners to consent to the sale or gift of a home.

Mobile Homes Act 2013
The Mobile Homes Act 2013 was enacted on 26 May 2013, however the sections do not all come into force on that date:

  • Section 1 – gives local authorities the ability to introduce fees (on application and an annual fee)
  • Section 2 – gives local authorities discretion whether to issue and/or transfer site licences
  • Section 3 – appeals to site licence conditions will go to the Residential Property Tribunal instead of going to the Magistrates Court
  • Section 4 – gives local authorities the ability to serve a compliance notice where there are one or more breaches of site licence conditions
  • Section 5 – gives local authorities the ability to carry out works where the licence holder has failed to do so, this includes the recovery of costs
  • Sections 6 and 7 – amend details in relation to appeals, operative periods, recovery of expenses and the residential tribunal

Section 8 – places a requirement on the licence holder to be a “fit and proper person”. This has not yet been enacted and is not likely to be until 2017.

Sections 9 to 12 have come into effect as of 26 May 2013.  

Section 9 – makes site rules express terms of agreement.

  • Section 10 – removes the requirement for the site owner to consent to the sale or gift of a mobile home (please also see the Regulation named above for further information)
  • Section 11 – changes the way in which a site owner can change pitch fees
  • Section 12 – amends the protection occupiers have against eviction and harassment  

Licence conditions

Licences have conditions taken from ‘model standards’ which include:

  • The type of caravan, eg residential, static holiday or touring.
  • The permitted density (the number per acre/hectare) and the spacing between caravans.
  • Water supply and drainage; lavatory and washing facilities.
  • Fire precautions and electrical installations.

Exemptions

  • A caravan sited with the curtilage of a dwelling and its use is incidental to the dwelling. This means it cannot be occupied separately.
  • A single caravan sited for not more than two consecutive nights for a maximum of 28 days in any 12 months.
  • Up to three caravans on a site of not less than five acres for a maximum of 28 days in any 12 months.
  • Sites occupied by exempted organisations such as the Caravan Club.
  • Sites of up to 5 caravans certified by an exempt organisation and which are for members only.
  • Sites occupied by the local authority. These are usually gypsy sites.
  • Sites for temporary and special purposes such as caravan rallies, agricultural and forestry workers, building and engineering sites and travelling salesmen.
  • A site for tents only can be used for a maximum of 28 days in any 12 months.

Caravan site occupiers

You should have a licence already but you should check that your name, the site name and address is correct and up to date. Also check that the licence corresponds with your planning permission. If not, contact us using the details above.

If you have recently become a caravan site occupier, licences are transferable to a new occupier but the law requires us to give consent for the transfer. You should complete an application form with a letter requesting for transfer.

Potential site occupier

You or your legal advisor should check that all the land used for siting caravans has planning permission and that the details correspond with the site licence. If you wish to change the use of the land to a permanent caravan site use you must have planning permission before a licence can be issued.

View the Caravan and Control of Development Act 1960 and other legislation mentioned. You can view a copy of the Caravan and Control of Development Act 1960 at the council offices where you may also obtain an application forms, a copy of the conditions and further help or advice.

For further information about how the changes affect you, download this leaflet Park homes: know your rights (PDF)

Regulations

The Mobile Homes (Site Rules) (England) Regulations 2014  prescribe the procedure for the making, variation and deletion of site rules on residential mobile home parks. Site Licence Holders must follow a set procedure for changes to be made to “site rules” for a permanent residual home site.

Site rules compliance

The following sites have submitted their site rules. 

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