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Caravan and campsite licencing

The Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 (“the Act”) requires that (subject to certain exceptions) no occupier of land shall “cause or permit” any part of their land to be used as a caravan and/or camping site unless they hold a current site licence in respect of the land.

Under Section 269 of the Public Health Act 1936 a site licence is required if a person allows any land occupied by them to be used for camping (tents only) purposes on more than forty two consecutive days or more than sixty days in any twelve consecutive months.

Site licences may only be issued after the relevant planning permission has been obtained for the site.

Section 29 (1) of the Act defines 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 Applicant

A site licence must not be issued by a local authority where, to the Authority’s knowledge, a person holds a site licence which has been revoked less than three years before.

Issue of Site Licence

The site licence is ordinarily issued automatically on application once planning permission has been obtained. The local authority can determine what conditions ought to be attached to the site licence.

Where the applicant already has planning permission when they provide the particulars, we must issue the licence within two months of the particulars being given.

If planning permission is not obtained until later the licence must be issued within six weeks of the permission being obtained.

In each case the period may be extended by written agreement between the applicant and the local authority.

The Application Process

To apply for a caravan site licence, applicants must complete and submit an application form:

Apply online for caravan site licence

Alternatively you can download and print the forms below:

The applicant will need to include details of the following in their application:

  • the type of caravan site for which the licence is required – permanent, residential, seasonal or touring;
  • the maximum number of caravans that are proposed to be stationed on site at any one time for the purpose of human habitation;
  • a layout plan of the site, to a scale of not less than 1/500, showing
    • the boundaries of the site,
    • the positions of caravan standings,
    • and, where appropriate,
      • the positions of roads and footpaths,
      • toilet blocks,
      • stores and other buildings,
      • food and surface water drainage,
      • water supply,
      • recreation spaces,
      • fire points
      • and parking spaces;
  • details of the arrangements for refuse disposal and for sewage and waste water disposal.

There is a comprehensive range of business regulatory support services available to help and advise businesses to be more successful and compliant.

Tacit Consent

We will acknowledge your application on receipt. In the unlikely event you have not heard anything from us at the end of the processing timescale detailed in 'Issue of site licence' above, tacit consent does not apply and your application is not deemed granted. Please contact licensing services in this situation using the contact details below.

Duration of the Site Licence

Generally, there is no expiry date for a site licence. However, if the relevant planning permission is for a limited period, the site licence must expire at the same time as the planning permission.

Transfer of the Site Licence

If a site licence holder ceases to be the occupier of the land, they may, with the local authority’s consent, transfer the licence to the person who becomes the occupier of the land.

Model Standards

Model Standards have been published under the provisions of Section 5 (6) of the Act. The local authority is directed to have regard to the standards when deciding what (if any) conditions to attach to the site licence.

Appeal Against Conditions

Section 7 (1) of the Act allows a right of appeal against conditions attached to a site licence. An appeal must be made to the Magistrates’ Court within twenty eight days of the licence being issued.

Alteration of Conditions

Section 8 (1) of the Act states that the local authority may, at any time,

  • alter such conditions by varying or cancelling them,
  • by adding new conditions,
  • or by a combination of these methods.

Before doing so, the Authority is obliged to afford to the licence holder an opportunity to make representations. No alteration becomes effective unless and until written notification has been received by the licence holder.

Pop up sites

Some campsites may operate without a license under Permitted Development rights which limits the number of days that a site can open in year. For further information please read the guidance for pop up campsites.

Offences and Penalties

Section 9 (1) of the Act makes it an offence for a site licence holder to fail to comply with any conditions attached to the licence. If the local authority is satisfied that a breach of a condition under a site licence has occurred, in the first instance it can instigate proceedings in the Magistrates’ Court.

If, after having been convicted of breaching site licence condition(s) on three or more occasions, a site licence holder continues to break conditions of the licence, the local authority may, instead of instigating further proceedings, apply to the Magistrates’ Court to have their licence revoked.

Where revocation is ordered, another licence may not be issued in respect of land to the same holder for at least three years.

Power of Entry

Under Section 26 (1) of the Act, authorised officers of the Authority have the right to enter, at all reasonable hours (after having given twenty-four hours’ notice), land which is used as a caravan site or in respect of an application for a site licence has been made.

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