Pitching in to stop campers on agricultural land

Our lawyer, Fiona McNulty, explains the law regarding renting out agricultural land
legal cartoon
© Merrily Harpur
Question: In my village, a landowner is renting out his agricultural land to caravan campers for rallies by organisations which hold Natural England Exemption Certificates.

The council says it can't do anything because it has no powers to stop caravan owners using agricultural land for camping, if the campers have the permission of the landowners. Can the villagers do anything to stop this?

Answer: Generally a material change of use of agricultural land for the sitting of caravans will require express planning permission.

However, there are some exceptions, one of which is that planning permission will be deemed to have been granted - ie, there is permitted development where: a single touring caravan is stationed for no more than two consecutive nights; up to three caravans are stationed on a holding of more than five acres for no more than 28 nights a year; the land is occupied by an organisation which holds a certificate of exemption and the use promotes recreational activities and is supervised by the organisation; the use is by no more than five caravans at a time of a site certified by an exempted organisation, or the use is for not more than five nights for a meeting organised by an exempted organisation for its members.

Accordingly, the use of the land may be classed as permitted development. Further, the land cannot be used as a caravan site without a site licence unless the land is classed as permitted development, as explained above.

If neither apply then you can ask your local council's planning enforcement team to take action but such action is within the discretion of the council and so they could refuse.

What's your problem?

If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Fiona is a partner in the residential real estate team at Thring LLP www.thrings.com.

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