Council rejects application to turn mobile home into permanent residence

A static caravan with small porch and white aluminium walls
The static caravan is currently used as a holiday let and it was argued mobile home conversion could solve the housing crisis (Image credit: Cheshire East Council)

Planning permission for a mobile home in the countryside to be turned into a permanent residence has been refused by planning officers.

Laurence Smith sought full planning permission for the partial demolition of an existing domestic storage outbuilding and retention of an existing mobile home for permanent residential occupation at Beechcroft, Newcastle Road, Smallwood near Sandbach in Cheshire.

However, planners at Cheshire East Council rejected the plans because it would cause harm to the open countryside through urbanisation and insufficient room sizes.

Home would have 'no greater impact' on the countryside than current building

As part of the application it was claimed the mobile home would replace an existing building and would meet all current building standards.

The planning document submitted on behalf of the applicant states the existing mobile home has been on site since 2016 and is currently used as a holiday let following approval of planning permission in 2022. It also states that an existing storage building will be demolished in its place.

The document added: “It will be demonstrated in this statement that the use of the building as a permanent dwelling is an acceptable form of development in the open countryside and there will be no harm to the character and appearance of the surrounding open countryside. 

"It would have no greater impact on the countryside than the existing building to be demolished.”

Mr Smith argued that the conversion would meet all the requirements as laid out in Cheshire planning guidelines because it is sustainable development, makes effective use of land, and conserves and enhances the natural environment.

There were numerous objectors to the proposed changes

It was claimed by the applicant that turning the mobile home into a permanent structure would have no greater impact that if led into the existing structure  (Image credit: Emery Planning)

Claims mobile home is already a dwelling

The applicant stated that local planning guidelines allows the re-use of existing buildings where they are of permanent and substantial construction and of a size to accommodate a satisfactory living environment.

Representatives for Mr Smith added: “The existing mobile home remains as a permanent structure as it is not moved and permanently used as a holiday let.

“It should be recognised that the existing building already comprises a dwelling, albeit one with an occupancy restriction. As such, the principle of residential use at the site has already been established at the site and does not need to be reconsidered.”

Plans for where the home would be put up and used against an existing outbuilding/shed

The plans show where the partial demolition of an existing domestic storage outbuilding and retention of an existing mobile home for permanent residential occupation would take place (Image credit: Cheshire East Council)

Why was planning rejected?

Cheshire East Council refused planning permission stating: “The proposed development is unsustainable because it is located within the open countryside and does not meet any of the exceptions noted for development.

"The proposed development would also cause harm to the open countryside/local landscape through urbanisation… which seek to ensure development is directed to the right location and open countryside is protected from inappropriate development and maintained for future generations enjoyment and use.”

There were also numerous objections from locals. One objector said: “This application requests further development of a paddock which belongs to the house in the open countryside. A risk to develop to a larger residential use is the concern.

“The caravan is currently a holiday let which has specific conditions to limit usage to less than 28 days. This was recently granted. This condition was in order to prevent a permanent residential unit in open countryside.”

Another added: “The application represents a further creeping intensification of the site that has been ongoing for several years.”

The applicant has 12 weeks to appeal the decision.

Sam Webb

Sam is based in Coventry and has been a news reporter for nearly 20 years. His work has featured in the Mirror, The Sun, MailOnline, the Independent, and news outlets throughout the world.  As a copywriter, he has written for clients as diverse as Saint-Gobain, Michelin, Halfords Autocentre, Great British Heating, and Irwin Industrial Tools. During the pandemic, he converted a van into a mini-camper and is currently planning to convert his shed into an office and Star Wars shrine.