Help please: Static home on agricultural plot which has adjoined garden for 30+ years.

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Johnson1
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:33 pm

Help please: Static home on agricultural plot which has adjoined garden for 30+ years.

Post by Johnson1 » Tue Oct 30, 2018 6:59 pm

Hello,

First time poster but long term reader of this superb forum. I would high value any thoughts, comments and opinions from any readers or contributors regarding a garden issue we currently have.

We have a mid-size (approx 40m x 40m) agricultural plot with it's own title deeds which immediately adjoins the end of our residential garden. The plot original formed part of a larger estate which was split up and sold in individual plots in 1932. A previous owner of our residential property purchased the adjoining plot at the end of our garden in 1986 and since then the plot has formed an integral part of the garden, with no hedges, fences separating the two. Since 1986 the plot had been treated and maintained as garden, the grass mowed, one or two fruit trees planted, kids playing, etc.

We recently completed a sizeable PD building project to our house which required us to move out and rather than be off-site and the added cost of renting, we bought a static home and sited it at the very end of our garden, which is the effectively the adjoining plot mentioned above. We stayed in the caravan for about 10 months, moving back into the new house a few months ago. All was going well until we had a suprise visit from a Planning Enforcement Officer a week or so ago, initialling responding to a complaint about our build (which comes as no surprise as we have a current ROW dispute with a neighbouring committing a 'Substantial Interference' - for which I may add a separate post) but whilst on-site the Planning Officer noticed the caravan and asked if it was on a separate plot there - it was almost as if he'd been tipped of!!! We told him it was as had it's own deeds but it had been used as part of the garden for over 30 years, He was a very nice chap and suggested we get a 'Statement of Truth' from the previous owner (of 18 years) to confirm this, which we have done so. The Planning Officer seemed to suggest this would cover us, but we're not sure what that means exactly.. Even though the static home has served it's purpose, we'd quite like to keep it where it is - in time it would make a great summer house for the kids, bit of over flow accommodation sleepovers, I work from home sometimes and could make a decent office, etc, etc

As mentioned above, we have an ongoing ROW issue with neighbours and in a recent letter from their solicitor they asked for confirmation of when the caravan would be moved!

This is where we need some guidance... we have the 'Statement of Truth' from the previous owner confirming the (agricultural) plot has been used as garden for 30 years... but what now??
Do we contact the Planning Enforcement Officer and let him know we now have this?
Do we keep quiet and wait to see what comes of it?
Can the neighbour insist that the caravan is moved?
The Title Deeds to the plot have Restrictive Covenants stating that buildings erected for human habitation need to be made of brick, timber, tiled roof... which of course the caravan is not - what does mean?
Should we have got Planning Permission for the caravan?

So many questions and do not know which way to turn.

Thanks so much in advance and any help would be very genuinely appreciated and greatly received.

IdefixUK
Posts: 587
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:07 pm
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Re: Help please: Static home on agricultural plot which has adjoined garden for 30+ years.

Post by IdefixUK » Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:30 pm

Johnson1 wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 6:59 pm


This is where we need some guidance... we have the 'Statement of Truth' from the previous owner confirming the (agricultural) plot has been used as garden for 30 years... but what now??
Do we contact the Planning Enforcement Officer and let him know we now have this?
Do we keep quiet and wait to see what comes of it?
Can the neighbour insist that the caravan is moved?
The Title Deeds to the plot have Restrictive Covenants stating that buildings erected for human habitation need to be made of brick, timber, tiled roof... which of course the caravan is not - what does mean?
Should we have got Planning Permission for the caravan?
Hello Johnson 1
So far as I am aware...
Some types of development/changes to property, which ordinarily would require planning consent , become "unenforceable" by the Council after four years. Unfortunately change of use from agriculture to domestic garden use is not one of these and Councils can enforce you to return the land to the original use unless the change was made before August 1974. It would seem from your post that you have every intention of living there for some years to come so you really need to know where you stand with this part of your post. It could be that the Planning Enforcement Officer will overlook this, given that you,and the previous owner have used the land as garden for so long.....why would they bother chasing you???. I suggest you pass on a copy of the Statement of Truth and see what he says.
I rather do think that the static van needs planning consent if you want it to stay.
Neither the neighbour or his solicitor can force you to remove the van (unless perhaps if the covenant is to the benefit of their property) The neighbour probably knows that his best chance of forcing you to remove the van is by getting the Planners involved, otherwise they would have gone down the covenant route (if they know about that).
Regarding the covenant it might be better if you were to post the exact wording. My first thoughts are
a) who would want to enforce the covenant, are they still alive etc.
b) the building can be a static van if it's not for human habitation......anyone want to define habitation?

Waiting your post about substantial interference

Regards

Johnson1
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2018 6:33 pm

Re: Help please: Static home on agricultural plot which has adjoined garden for 30+ years.

Post by Johnson1 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:51 pm

IdefixUK, thanks for your time in responding.

Any ideas of how the 4 year rule differs from the 10 year rule I have read about?

I had read in previous posts on a similar topic from a regular contributor called 'pilman' that there is a:
10 year period to then claim that no enforcement action can then be taken
"". www.gardenlaw.co.uk/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=19781

Another post on the same thread from a regular contributor names 'boeingman' also writes on the same topic:
You MUST wait until the 10 year period has elapsed. This is the length of time required for an unauthorised change of use to become immune from enforcement. After the 10 years you can then apply for a Certificate of Lawful Use. This certificate effectively formalises your immunity from enforcement. It does not change the planning status of the land. Once immune you can apply in the normal way to do whatever you want with the land but this may well be refused by your local planning authority. What they cannot do though, is insist that you change the land back to what it was.
"

Again from 'pilman' on same thread:
Under planning law once the ten year breach of planning control had been proven then all use for the same purpose will be lawful.
That is when an application for a Lawful Development Certificate could be made to secure a document that confirms the lawful use of the land.
Personally i would only do that when I came to sell the property, because if the LPA haven't bothered for ten years it is unlikely they will ever bother for what seems to be a very minor change of use.
If I am to go by the above comments I believe my case falls within the 10 year change of use rule, if so we can comfortably continue to use the land as garden without fear of enforcement... I think.

If this is the case, this leads me on to the caravan question; If the land is now classified as domestic garden (by way of 10 year 'change of use' immunity) can we confidently leave our static home where it is?

Comments greatly appreciated, thanks again.

IdefixUK
Posts: 587
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:07 pm
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Re: Help please: Static home on agricultural plot which has adjoined garden for 30+ years.

Post by IdefixUK » Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:52 pm

I was just about to give you links to the chapter and verse on the web when I realised that I had quoted from the UK gov site for Northern Ireland. I offer my humble apologies and ask you to disregard my previous post. My excuse (feeble) is that I am currently abroad using a satellite internet connection which thinks I am in NI.....in reality I'm 1000 miles away.

My bad (as they say)

Regards.

IdefixUK
Posts: 587
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:07 pm
Number of topics per page: 25

Re: Help please: Static home on agricultural plot which has adjoined garden for 30+ years.

Post by IdefixUK » Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:35 pm

Section55 of the Town and Country Planning act 1990, under section 2(d) would seem to allow your proposed use of your caravan without planning consent, however the caravan would need to be within the curtilage of the property to which its use is ancillary . You said that it is on an adjacent area of land which has its own separate title-number, and thus I think it cannot technically be considered to be exempt from planning permission.

Regards

Eliza
Posts: 343
Joined: Sun Jun 01, 2014 6:28 am

Re: Help please: Static home on agricultural plot which has adjoined garden for 30+ years.

Post by Eliza » Sat Nov 03, 2018 7:16 am

f
Apologies for not giving exact personal details in my posts - you never know who is reading....

IdefixUK
Posts: 587
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:07 pm
Number of topics per page: 25

Re: Help please: Static home on agricultural plot which has adjoined garden for 30+ years.

Post by IdefixUK » Sat Nov 03, 2018 8:21 am

Eliza wrote:
Sat Nov 03, 2018 7:16 am
f
Eliza,
Brief, but not so informative as your usual posts. :D

Regards :

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