Planning enforcement remove illegal caravan
South Somerset District Council planning enforcement team remove a caravan from agricultural land after reports of planning violations.
In 2018, the planning enforcement team received reports of a caravan on agricultural land without planning permission in Westport. This meant that there was a change of use of the land from agricultural to residential without having permission from the council to do so. The enforcement team took necessary actions and successfully removed the caravan on 22 February 2022.
After notification of the planning violation, our planning enforcement team set to work on liaising with landowners to have the caravan removed. Following this, an enforcement notice was served on 5 December 2019 requiring the caravan to be removed by 14 April 2020.
Site visits revealed the caravan appeared abandoned in the field.
There were multiple attempts to contact the landowners, and it was found by the land registry that the owners had changed. By late 2020 all letters were undeliverable and being returned.
In 2021, a site visit confirmed the caravan was still in the field. There was no trace of owners or interested parties. In November 2021, it was decided that enforcement action needed to be taken. The only course of action left available to the Council was to exercise its powers under section 178 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, which allows the Council to carry out the work required in the enforcement notice.
A final letter was on the site in December 2021 asking the owner to come forward. This did not happen.
On 22 February 2022, the Council successfully removed the caravan and arranged its storage for 28 days. This allows the owner to claim it before being destroyed. A charge will be placed on the land for the works that have been carried out.
Kirsty Larkins, Director of Service Delivery, said “The team tried working with the landowners informally to resolve the issue, when this didn’t work we had to take formal enforcement action. We are pleased to have resolved this issue and removed the caravan from the site. It sets a good precedent for future planning enforcement.”
This enforcement ensures that South Somerset continues to have picturesque landscapes and to be a place where the environment thrives and communities are safe and self-reliant.