The appellant argued that as a result of works carried out in 2016-17 (which included the removal of the walls and roof of the caravan and the construction of a timber frame extending beyond the original chassis), what had previously been a caravan had become a building. As the purported building was initially used for purposes other than residential use, the appellant alleged that there had been a change of use of a building to a single dwelling house occurring more than four years prior to the issuing of the enforcement notice.
The main issue at the inquiry was whether the works done to a caravan had resulted in the caravan becoming a building.
It was common ground that whether the structure remained a caravan must be determined having regard to the definition of “caravan” in s.29(1) of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960, defines a caravan as “any structure designed or adapted for human habitation which is capable of being moved from one place to another (whether by being towed, or by being transported on a motor vehicle or trailer) and any motor vehicle so designed or adapted.”
The LDNPA’s planning witness, who had an engineering background in addition to experience as a consultant to caravan companies, gave evidence that it would have been possible to lift the structure intact onto a motor vehicle and trailer. The Inspector gave considerable weight to his evidence (-).
The appellant argued that the definition of a caravan in the 1960 Act also required that the caravan should arrive at the destination in the same condition it left in. Further, the appellant suggested that whether the structure was intended or designed to be moved must play a role in determining whether it is capable of being moved.
The Inspector rejected these submissions, accepting the LDNPA’s position that the relevant part of the 1960 Act’s definition is only concerned with whether the structure is “capable of being moved” and to determine whether a structure is capable of being moved, one must have regard to its inherent characteristics rather than the maker’s intention (-).
Overall, the Inspector found that it had not been demonstrated by the appellant on the balance of probability that the structure had become a building when the notice was issued ().
The appeal was dismissed on all grounds.
Stephanie Bruce-Smith appeared for the Lake District National Park Authority at the enforcement inquiry.