Mobile homes not dwellings replaceable by houses in green belt

To the extent that replacements for buildings are permitted in the green belt does this extend to permanent buildings providing replacements for caravans and other mobile homes?

You would have thought this was pushing things a bit and you would be right.

In Lloyd & Anor v Secretary of State for Communities And Local Government & Anor [2014] the applicant appealed against a refusal of its challenge, under section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (“the Act”), to an unsuccessful planning appeal.

The applicant sought permission to retain a “replacement dwelling” on green belt land at Doone Brae Farm, Windmill Road, Pepperstock in Hertfordshire.

The “replacement dwelling” was, in fact, a Canadian log cabin, which had, in 2003, replaced a mobile home that was stationed on the site.

Despite a number of attempts, the log cabin did not have planning permission.

The Court of Appeal found the Council’s Local Plan to be consistent with the National Planning Policy Framework (“the Framework”) on Green Belt.

The Framework’s main policy dispensation (Policy 89) related to replacement for buildings, given their ordinary and natural meaning, and did not include replacements for caravans or other mobile homes.

The purpose of Policy 89 was to set out the exceptions to the general rule that “the construction of new buildings” is inappropriate development in the green belt. A building is something that is constructed on a site. It does not include a moveable structure that was constructed off site and merely assembled and stationed on a site.

It was plain that references to dwellings in the policy exceptions to green belt protection could only be permitting replacements to dwellings which had been buildings or houses and not caravans or other mobile homes.

Had the appellant been correct it would have undermined the protection afforded to the green belt because it would have permitted the replacement of moveable, non-permanent structures with permanent buildings.

This blog has been posted out of general interest. It does not remove the need to get bespoke legal advice in individual cases.