Deciding whether or not planning permission is required is complex as consultations with different Local Planning Authorities (LPA) will often result in a wide variety of responses. Our retained planning consultants, Clive Miller and Associates Ltd (CMA) explain some of the instances when is necessary for a mobile home.

  • The proposed site is outside of the existing garden area of a dwelling;
  • The garden involved relates to a listed building or is within a National park or within an Article 4 area designated by an LPA to remove permitted development rights;
  • The structure does not comply with the legal definition of a caravan;
  • The use of the lodge is deemed to constitute a separate dwelling;
  • The size of lodge, although complying with the legal definition of a caravan is nevertheless judged to be so large as not to be incidental to the dwelling;

Generally however, planning permission is unlikely to be required for the siting of a mobile home within the curtilage of a dwelling provided that it is used in a manner incidental to the enjoyment of that dwelling. Therefore our Garden Cottages can be regarded as permitted development, depending on how they are occupied. To be sure that it is regarded as an incidental use, there must be a significant degree of joint occupation of the dwelling and the garden so that the occupants of the Garden Cottage and the dwelling can be regarded as living as a single household. Factors which will help to determine that the occupation is definitely incidental to the dwelling;

  • Taking of some main meals as a single household.
  • Shared use of laundry and utility facilities.
  • Shared use of all garden areas.
  • Shared use of access and parking areas.
  • A clear interdependence between the people residing in the lodge and those in the main dwelling.
  • Close physical proximity of the house and the Garden Cottage.

Factors which will seriously undermine this and to avoid include


  • Having separate public utility and services connections with separate bills.
  • Having a separate postal address and/or letter boxes.
  • Physical subdivision of the garden areas and parking areas.
  • Lack of family or other dependency connection with the owners/occupiers of the dwelling.
  • The construction of permanent extensions to the caravan such that it might be judged to be a building, in which case another set of rules will apply relating to its size, position and use.


Therefore the decision of whether permission is required or not is judged on a case by case basis depending on the circumstances and the approach of the individual LPA. Ultimately, if an LPA considers that the use is not ancillary or incidental (or likely to be) they would state that planning permission is required, or if the use has already started, they might request a retrospective application. If one declines to submit an application, the onus would then be on the LPA to evidence that the use and occupation is such that a separate dwelling has been created. Although this might be very hard for an LPA to prove, having to defend an Enforcement Action by the LPA can be very stressful. To avoid this situation and gain certainty from the outset, the submission of an application for a Certificate of Lawful Proposed Development can be made to formally establish that planning permission is not required. Alternatively, if the matter as to whether permission might be required is not clear cut, a further approach would be to submit a planning application accompanied by a Unilateral Undertaking. This is a legally binding document registered as a charge on the property that will ensure that a separate dwelling cannot legally be created and that the Garden Cottage can only ever be used by dependant members of the same household.

If you need more planning advice about your particular situation, CMA will be pleased to respond to a short phone call or email free of charge, but will reserve the right to request payment for further more detailed advice or work relating to research into local planning policies applying in your area, discussions and negotiations with planners and the preparation and submission of planning applications and unilateral undertakings.

Clive Miller & Associates Ltd
Sanderley Studio, Kennel Lane
Langport, Somerset, TA10 9SB