What can be lawfully achieved within a property's curtilage?
Why is it important to identify your curtilage?
Planning Policy is constantly changing and evolving and it can at times seem hard to keep track of what you are allowed to do even in your own home. One part of Policy that has historically remained constant, and currently also remains true, is that householder planning - that is to say development within your own home - falls under its own specific guidelines.
These guidelines are usually far less restrictive than the policies used when determining proposals on sites that are not already defined as a dwelling. Most importantly to householders is that 'householder rights' also extends to the curtilage surrounding your property. As such, it is always useful to understand the area that defines your curtilage and more importantly still, how you can manipulate it to suit your pressing needs.
If you have a listed building, curtilage is also very important to define, as anything within the curtilage of the subject building is usually automatically listed by virtue of it being part of the listed buildings settings.
Permitted Development Rights.
One common misconception about siting a mobile unit in your curtilage is that it is a form of permitted development. Whist as a householder you have certain rights afforded to you under the General Permitted Development Order 1995 / 2015, the siting of a caravan is an exemption under The Caravans Act which bypasses the planning procedure entirely and automatically gives you a 'deemed consent'. To this end, in principle you have a right to do it without informing the Local Authority at all, although this is not recommended.
Types of permitted development
It is not the intention of this site to run through all the forms of permitted development available to householders under The GPDO. However, as we are commonly asked about these rights we will endeavour to update the site to include this in the near future.
Use of a Lawful Development Certificate
Whilst it is the case that as a householder you have rights in hand to perform certain actions without informing the Local Authority, it is perhaps unwise to do so. We have found that due to the nature of most units being sited, it raises eyebrows and The Local Authority become involved anyway in order to check that you have not done anything outside of your extant rights. As a result of this, we recommend applying for a Lawful Development Certificate prior to bringing a unit on site in all cases. It is a relatively cheap and quick way of avoiding some potentially larger problems further down the road. Not only does this give peace of mind before spending what could be some significant money on a unit, but it also is usually something that you will have to prove anyway. It makes sense then to get it done from the start so you are not 'on the back foot' later on. Furthermore, if you apply for a certificate the Local Authority usually do not consult neighbours, parish etc. If you wait to deal with the Council till after the unit is on site, other people such as neighbours will become involved in the process which you would not have had to deal with if you had applied for the certificate beforehand.
Where a full application is required.
Caravans will usually only require full planning consent when they are outside of the definitions of The Caravans Act (in size, height or construction essentially), where they are sited in a position not deemed to be curtilage, or if they are to be used for something that would not be considered incidental to the enjoyment of an accompanying dwelling.
Listed Buildings and effects of.
As The Caravans Act gives us an exemption from the planning process, Listed Building status does not effect a proposal to site a mobile unit for ancillary accommodation.
As with Listed Building status, area designations such as AONB or even being on a National Park does not effect the ability to site a mobile unit. There is a caveat here - some areas are subject to what is called an Article 4 Direction. This is rare but should be checked prior to siting.