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Do I need planning permission for a Mobile Home on my own land?

Siting a garden annexe for ancillary use can be a fantastic way to avoid planning permission and may substantially increase the value of your property. Below we have outlined some of the key factors, which specifically apply to granny annexes and garden homes that you will need to adhere to:

Location

The garden annexe must be sited in the curtilage of a house (the land immediately surrounding the house such as a drive or garden).

Use

The garden annexe must be used by a family member or as a guest accommodation and not rented as a private or business premises etc.

Structure

The structure of the garden annexe must conform to the legal definition of a 'caravan'. All Home Annexe Ltd garden annexes although built to residential standard BS 3632, are legally defined as 'caravans' as they are built and transported on a chassis.

Caravans In Gardens - Overview Of The Law

A 'caravan', regardless of whether it is a touring caravan or a BS 3632 residential park home or lodge, is regarded as movable personal property and there is no public law preventing one being kept in a garden. There are however laws that regulate the use of land.

Siting a garden annexe within the garden of a property does not require express consent, provided there is no 'material change of use'. Gardens are to be used for the enjoyment of the main dwelling / house. If a garden annexe is parked in a drive or sited in a garden and used by members of the household in connection with the house, or as extra accommodation for visiting guests, then provided the occupants continue to use the facilities of the house, the siting of the garden annexe has not changed the 'use' of the land. If however a garden annexe is sited in a garden and used as a business premises, separately rented or used as an independent home, with no relation to the main house, the local planning authority could decide that an unauthorised 'material change of use' has occurred and planning permission would be required.

In a nutshell, Home Annexe Ltd garden annexes can be sited and used in a garden as a granny annexe, without the need for planning consent, as long as there is no ''material change of use'.

Legal References

  • The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (Section 55(1)) defines 'development', which requires planning permission as: carrying out of building and other operations or making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land.
  • Under Section 55(2)(d) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 the use of any buildings or other land within the curtilage of a dwelling house for any purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling house as such is not to be taken to involve development of the land.
  • The Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 Schedule 1. Cases where a Caravan site License is not required. 1. Use within curtilage of a dwelling house. A site licence shall not be required for the use of land as a caravan site if the use is incidental to the enjoyment as such of a dwelling house within the curtilage of which the land is situated.

Planning For A Garden Annexe

If the garden annexe is to be sited in your garden, quite often you don't need planning permission, however, we do recommend you get a 'Certificate of Lawfulness' for peace-of-mind (this is like planning permission but you don't need to submit plans) which we will apply for on your behalf, with a success rate of 95%.

If you're looking to site a garden annexe anywhere other than in your garden you will need to contact your local council for approval. This includes any agricultural land or woodland joined to your property. Approval is also needed for conservation areas and new build estates.

Siting a garden annexe in your garden (up to 6.8 x 20m) falls under the same law as parking a touring caravan in your drive and normally falls within the primary use of the dwelling house. If the garden annexe remains moveable and is not someone's sole or primary residence, this will be acceptable, however, the use is important. There must remain a relationship between the main house and the garden annexe (the people using the garden must also have use of the main house).

If the garden annexe is just used for sleeping purposes by a family member, it is ancillary, and you do not need approval. However, if it is capable of being used as a separate residence, it is not. There must be an interaction between the two buildings that involves a significant degree of dependence on facilities provided from the main house. This means the people who stay in the garden annexe must also have access, or a relationship with / to the main house, such as they eat meals there, have belonging stored there, use the facilities etc.

Legal Planning Definition for 'Caravans' in the Garden

A 'caravan' (as defined in section 29 of the Caravan Sites & Control of Development) may be parked temporarily (in the same manner as a car) within the curtilage of a domestic property without the need for planning permission, unless there are limiting conditions applied when the house was built. Limiting conditions and restrictions are more commonplace in modern housing estates.

A garden annexe may also be used in a manner ancillary to the residential property; that is, in addition to the use of the house, but not as someone's separate dwelling. There must remain a relationship between the garden annexe and the house (for example, meals taken in the house). Use the granny annexe simply in the manner of an extra room / bedroom. Make sure the garden annexe remains moveable.

Check your property deeds for restrictions, especially on more modern estates or where the council has issued an Article 4 Direction - common in Conservation Areas.

Garden Annexe Big Enough?

It is important to note that you consider your local planning authority (LPA) when choosing an annexe. You cannot have a garden annexe that is larger than the footprint of the main house. The garden annexe is considered ancillary to the main house and must therefore, be smaller.

Using graph paper, plot out the overall size of your house and garden. You can usually find out the measurements of the overall footprint from site location plans or your title deeds. If not, you can measure the footprint yourself. Add onto that the overall footprint of the annexe you are interested in. If less than 50% of the garden area remains, then it is likely that the annexe will be too big.

Ownership

If you have a family member who is looking to release equity and downsize there are some advantages in relation to Inheritance Tax and for the property owner, the value of the main house will usually increase and become more desirable when it comes to selling.

Whilst there are no rules on who should own a garden annexe when it comes to selling a property, a garden annexe must always be sold alongside the main residence. It will not be classed as a separate property when it comes to selling.

It is best to discuss who 'owns' the garden annexe beforehand and make sure that all parties agree.

Our Service

If you choose to build your garden annexe with us, our planning permission service is automatically included. Our planning specialist will apply for planning permission for your garden annexe and liaise with the relevant authorities on your behalf.

There are three tests that a garden annexe must pass to comply with the caravan act:

1. Maximum dimensions.
2. Method of construction.
3. Transportability.

Some general guidelines with regards to the type of building it must be including:

  • It must be a structure not a building (i.e., a mobile home / garden annexe)
  • Fit for human habitation.
  • Capable of being moved from place to place including around the site once assembled.

All our annexes can be built to achieve these criteria's meaning that permission to build your annexe will be achieved. Your Local Planning Authority will issue a certificate of lawfulness should there be no objections.

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