Caravan site permit


Land cannot be used as a caravan site unless the occupier holds a site licence issued by the local authority.

Download the: Caravan site permit application form

Licence summary

The Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 prohibits the use of any land as a caravan site unless the occupier holds a site licence issued by the local authority.

No caravan site licence can be issued if either the land does not have planning permission for use as a caravan site, or the applicant has had a site licence revoked within the previous three years.

The occupier of the land must apply in writing to the Council for a caravan site licence.

The site licence will expire at the same time as the planning permission.

To obtain planning permission an application must be made to the Planning Department. Site licences are issued by Regulatory Services.

Licence conditions

Section 5 of the Caravan sites and Control of Development Act allows a Local Authority to impose conditions in the interest of the persons dwelling in the caravans, or of any other class of persons, or of the public at large.
Licence conditions can include:

  • the periods of use
  • the type of caravan, e.g. residential, static holiday or touring
  • the permitted density (the number per acre/hectare) and the spacing between caravans
  • state of repair and type of caravans
  • water supply and drainage; lavatory and washing facilities
  • fire precautions and electrical installations

A copy of the licence must be displayed on the site if four or more caravans are permitted on the site.

Reasons for conditions

  • The numbers may be limited to have regard to planning or highway considerations to maintain amenity or privacy.
  • Seasonal use may be required as a planning condition to prevent residential use of sub-standard accommodation, or to preserve the quiet amenity of the area during closed periods.
  • Spacing of the caravans is predominantly for fire consideration, but privacy and noise nuisance are also factors.
  • Road surfaces are covered to prevent danger and dust nuisance.
  • The minimum distances from sanitary disposal points etc are to prevent nuisance and improve hygiene.
  • The site name must be displayed for easy identification by emergency services.

Tented site licence

A tented site licence is require if tents are stationed on land for the purposes of human habitation exceeding 42 days consecutively of 60 days in a 12 month period (planning consent is required for use of land on more than 28 days).

An application for a site licence must be in writing.

Tented site licences are issued under the Public Health Act 1936, Section 269 as amended by the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960, Section 30 which entitles the Local Authority to apply conditions it deems necessary to the licence.

Eligibility criteria

Fees: None

Penalties: It is an offence for an occupier of land to cause or permit any part of his land to be used as a caravan site, without holding a site licence. On summary conviction, this offence carries a penalty of up to £2,500.


A Caravan Site Licence is not required for:

  • Incidental use within the curtilage of a dwelling house;
  • Single caravan used by a person for not more than 2 nights and 28 days in 12 months;
  • A maximum of 3 caravans at any time, for not more than 28 days in 12 months, on holdings of five acres or more;
  • Sites occupied and supervised by exempted organisations;
  • Sites approved by exempted organisations for up to five caravans;
  • Meetings organised by exempted organisations lasting not more than 5 days;
  • Seasonal use by agricultural and forestry workers;
  • Building and engineering site workers at or adjoining the site;
  • Travelling showmen;
  • Sites operated and owned by a local council, county councils or regional councils;
  • Gypsy sites occupied by County or Regional Councils.

What is the difference between a licensed site and an exempted site?

A licensed site is a 'protected' site and residents will have the protection of the Caravan Site Act 1968 or the Mobile Home Act 1983 (as amended by the Housing Act 2004). An exempt site is not a 'protected' site and residents do not have this protection.

Regulation summary (The Law) 

The Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960

Application evaluation process: None

Will Tacit Consent apply?: No 

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