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Matthew Dighton (Meadow View Caravan Park) v Rother District Council, First-Tier Tribunal Property Chamber (Residential Property)

Leo Charalambides

Pursuant to section 8(2) of the Caravan Site Control of Development Act 1960, the owner of a touring caravan site appealed against an amended condition to his site licence, on grounds that it was “unduly burdensome”.  The condition restricted the site’s season from 1 March to 31 October each year; imposed a maximum length of stay of nor more than 21 days; and, required a register to be kept of the users of each pitch.  The Tribunal dismissed the appeal.

The Applicant argued that the loss of seasonal touring caravan pitches, caused by the 21-day requirement, would result in serious financial loss and threaten business closure.  The Tribunal rejected this “hardship” argument.  Whilst accepting that such business loss fell to be considered, the Tribunal had regard to the fact that the relevant business interest only existed because of the site operators’ knowing non-compliance with the condition.  The loss was of the Applicant’s own making and was, therefore, afforded little weight in the balancing exercise.

The Applicant also contended that the condition had been imposed solely for planning reasons (to reinforce the park as a touring caravan site), being unlawful and unduly burdensome in that regard.  The Tribunal disagreed.  The Tribunal held that the condition’s various requirements were for purposes linked to the use of the land as a particular category of caravan site – the focus being on the transient nature of this site as a touring caravan site. The condition was not, therefore, solely based on planning considerations.

Rother District Council were represented by Leo Charalambides, instructed by Andy Eaton, Deputy Legal Services Manager, Rother District Council.