The Councils And You


Peter Black AM – March 2012
Park homes (Wales) Bill 2012
Policy Instructions                      – Peter Black AM

Contents


Bill-010 - Peter Black; Park homes (Wales) Bill 2
Pre-ballot Information 2
Glossary 3
Proposal Aims: 3
Reasons behind the proposals: 3
Proposal's Objectives: 4
The Bill will affect or is related to: 7
In preparing this Bill I have: 7
Policy background: 7
Legislative competence 8
Current Legislative Framework; Mobile/ Park home Occupation 9
Primary Legislation 9
Caravan Sites & Control of Development Act 1960 9
Caravan Sites Act 1968 10
Mobile Homes Act 1983 11
Housing Act 2004 12
Statutory Instruments 12
The Mobile Homes (Commissions) Order 1983 12
The Mobile Homes Act 1983 (Amendment of Schedule 1)(Wales) Order 2007 12
The Mobile Home (Written Statements) (Wales) Regulations 2007 13
The Mobile Homes Act 1983 (Jurisdiction of Residential Property Tribunal) (Wales) Order 2012 13
Other legal provisions potentially applicable 13
Utilities Act 2000 13
Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 13
Protection from Harassment Act 1997 13
Enterprise Act 2002 13
Model Standards – Wales 14
The current jurisdiction / powers of the Residential Property Tribunal 14
Human Rights & ECHR 15
Article 6 Right to a fair trial 15
Article 8 Right to respect for private and family life 15
Article 1 of the First Protocol: Protection of Property 16
Gypsies and travellers 16
Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 16
The Caravan Sites Act 1968 16
Mobile Homes Act 1983 16



Bill-010 - Peter Black; Park homes (Wales) Bill

Pre-ballot Information


Policy Objectives of the Bill


The purpose of this proposed Bill is to regulate more fairly the process by which residential caravans and mobile homes are managed and sold in Wales. The Bill will ensure that negotiations between site owners and park home owners are independently monitored and that there will be a system of arbitration for owners who have cause for concern about the process. We will also establish a requirement that the owners of park owner/ managers must pass a “fit and proper” persons test as part of a licensing system.


Background


Park (Mobile) Home owners, like any home owners, have a right to sell their homes. Unfortunately, a minority of unscrupulous park owner/ managers are able to use loopholes in current legislation to deter potential buyers from buying previously-owned homes on the site. At the "the approval of the buyer" stage, park owner/ managers meet with prospective purchasers and, allegedly, deter prospective purchasers with negative comments intended to deter the sale. Subsequently, many park home owners are left only able to sell to the site owners for an amount which is usually a figure considerably lower than the market value. 


Such incidents occur in a minority of transactions, but can cause considerable distress, as well as financial loss to park home owners due to a loophole in the legislation designed to protect them. Likewise, there are a number of similar incidents where next of kin have been denied access to a fair market due to the actions of some site owners. Finally this also damages the reputation of the whole industry (which is significant in many parts of Wales) and tarnishes the reputation of the majority of good site owners, The Bill ensures that meetings between potential buyers and site owners are independently monitored and to establish a system of arbitration for park home owners who feel that they have lost money as a result of this problem. The Bill also would develop a “fit and proper” persons test for park home site owners, acting as a licensing system, so that park home owners can be confident that their park home site is effectively managed.


Support received 


I have received support from many constituents. 


Consultation


I have begun consulting with stakeholders about this Bill.





Glossary

Park home refers to a park (mobile) home which is a “caravan” used for permanent residential purposes as defined under the Caravan Sites & Control of Development Act 1960.
Park home owner refers to the owner of the park (mobile) home. 
Site owner refers to the land owner of the park (mobile) home site. 
Site manager refers to the responsible person managing the site where the site owner is not present and has ceded responsibility for management of the site to a site manager. 
Licensing authority refers to the local authority responsible for licensing the park (mobile) home site. 


Proposal Aims:


The aim of this Bill is to regulate more fairly the process by which residential mobile home (park home) sites are managed and sold in Wales by removing the site owner/ manager’s veto on sales. It will establish a model licensing and inspection regime which will introduce consistency and give licensing authorities the tools and guidance they need to effectively license, monitor and inspect park homes sites. 


The Bill will also establish a requirement that site owner/ managers must pass a “fit and proper” person test as part of the new licensing system. It will also establish an enforcement regime, placing responsibility on licensing and inspection authorities to enforce the licensing regime and to take action in the case of non-compliance, using a phased approach including financial penalties and introducing a criminal offence for interfering in a sale.


Reasons behind the proposals:


The Bill will solve problems with the current management and maintenance of park home sites; Current law falls short because: 


“Park homes” are used by their owners all year round as their primary residence.  Park homes are a popular choice for older people wishing to downsize. However, this means that many people living in park homes are particularly vulnerable due not only to their age but also their inability to effectively represent themselves, out of lack of confidence and, in many cases, fear. 


While site owners have a responsibility to ensure that their sites are well managed and of a good standard, difficulties are often caused because, uniquely, park home owners own their own home, while the site owner owns the land. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous site owner/ managers have been able to use the current legislation to refuse to approve a sale by the park home owner and deter potential buyers moving onto the site, which can result in considerable financial loss for the park home owner. This ability to block a sale, together with intimidation and harassment of owners, has led to park home owners selling their homes to an unscrupulous site owner/ manager for a fraction of its market value.


There are also examples of significant failures to manage sites properly as there is currently no requirement on local authorities to enforce licence conditions; a lack of clarity within licence conditions which makes challenging them extremely difficult; and the local authority has no power to charge for site licences. These issues inflict considerable damage on the reputation of the entire park homes industry. 


Removal of the power to block sales; a more robust site licensing regime with greater powers for licensing authorities, including the ability to charge licence fees; and a requirement for a “fit and proper” person test will ensure that park home owners are better protected and that sites are more effectively managed.


Proposal's Objectives:


It is my intention that this Bill will achieve the following objectives:


To introduce a system of licencing for park home sites along the lines set out in Part 2 of the  Housing Act 2004 for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), renewable every five years and containing conditions on the ownership and management of the site.  Local Authorities to have power to charge for site licences.  Breaches of licence conditions to be subject to comparable fines as set out in the MoJ Code Level 5. To enable the Minister to vary the rates of fees and fines.  Duty on Councils to inspect sites regularly and enforce licence conditions. The Minister should issue guidance on the nature and method of inspection. Licensing authorities should follow model site licence statutory guidelines.


(To consult on) The fee for a licence be designed using a formula which takes into account the number of units, the square footage of the site, the cost of a site inspection, and the value of the site land. This would be fairer than a set ceiling, because some sites have only a handful of pitches, while others are large. It would also ensure transparency and consistency across Wales in the way that site licence fees are calculated.


(To consult on) Site owners/ managers to ensure that the site meets Model Standards, failure to adhere to Model Standards shall be a breach of licence. Complaints about failures of the site owner/ manager to comply with, or adhere to Model Standards on site to be heard by the Residential Property Tribunal. 


(To consult on) To include in the licence conditions a “fit and proper” person test similar to that applicable to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)s as set out in the Housing Act 2004.  Any “fit and proper test” should assume that people are “fit and proper” until it is proven otherwise.  However, matters that may determine that the site owner/manage is not a fit and proper person could include subsequent offences including public health and housing offence convictions.  Offences involving fraud, dishonesty, violence or serious drug offences, unlawful discrimination, breaches of law relating to housing and letting, breaches of law relating to public health and failure to act in relation to antisocial behaviour would be considered by the licensing authority in determining this test.  Any indirect blocking of sales such as putting off estate agents marketing homes or intimidating potential buyers should be a breach of the licence conditions as will any activity involving the unreasonable with holding of consent for improvements to the park homes, not allowing the owner access to utility bills, or not supplying a written agreement as required by current legislation on acquiring ownership of a home. Any site owner or manager found by the Residential Property Tribunal to be interfering with sales will cease to be considered a “fit and proper” person.  Changes to site rules without consultation and failure to recognise legitimate residents associations or to prevent them forming will be a breach of licence.  Failure to fulfil their duty to ensure a consistent and adequate water, gas or/and electricity supply and to undertake essential maintenance in good time will also be a breach of licence.  Any harassment or intimidation will be a breach of licence. The licensing authority must be informed of any change of ownership of the site by the existing licensee, failure to do so can lead to the revocation of the site licence. 


To prevent site owners blocking sales and replace the provision instead with an agreement containing conditions of ownership agreed with park home owners.  Any variation should also be agreed with park home owners.  Disagreements between site owners/ managers and park home owners will be arbitrated by the Residential Property Tribunal for Wales.


In addition to dealing with disputes between site owners/ managers and park home owners to enable the Residential Property Tribunal to deliberate and make judgement on disputes between site owners/ managers and licensing authorities.  (To consult on) To enable the Residential Property Tribunal to have powers to enforce its rulings.  If site owners fail to comply with and pay damages awarded by the Residential Property Tribunal, the Residential Property Tribunal shall have the power to refer cases back to the licensing authority, as a breach of licence; such breaches will be subject to the revocation of a park home site licence by the licensing authority. 


To include in the conditions of ownership as a condition of all park home sales, by both site owners and park home owners, that a written statement is provided to prospective park home buyers 28 days before commitment to purchase. Any seller of a park home, whether a site owner or park home owner, must inform prospective purchasers of any known issues with regard to the condition of the park home. To also include a standard written agreement for each site that park home owners will comply with site rules, to be agreed on each site by consultation between park home owners and the site owner, which may include but is not limited to provisions restricting the age of owners on site, pets, and agreements to keep private areas in good order; all consultations should be structured in accordance with statutory guidelines. As a condition of ownership that park home owners agree to pay pitch fees to the site owner, or their agent, in a timely fashion and that any increases in pitch fees that would represent (As a consultation point – to consult on whether this should be changed from RPI to CPI) a larger than RPI annual increase must be agreed by consultation between the site owner and park home owners, and that pitch fees on the site as they stand at the time a park home is purchased be included in the written statement. A copy of the site licence, rules and standard written agreement must be displayed onsite in an easily accessible place; failure to do this will be result in a breach of the site licence. 


Provisions for the recognition of a Residents Association remains as present. However the membership list should be held by the licensing authority and not made public. Only the name and contact details of the Chair will be available for wider circulation.


To enable local councils as the licensing authority to issue management orders for the site, comparable to the provisions made in Part 4 Chapter 1 of the Housing Act 2004 , and to secure any costs including the cost of inspections, carrying out work in default and the serving of notices, and fees.  Enabling the licencing authority to put in a suitable manager to run the site if the owner manager fails the ‘fit and proper person’ test.


Unreasonable refusal to allow the licensing authority access to the site for the purposes of enforcement and to do work will be a breach of licence.


To introduce a right to manage for owners along the lines of those rights available to the owners of leasehold flats as set out in Part 2 chapter 1 of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act 2002


To introduce a repayment order system similar to rent repayment orders as set out under current Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) legislation whereby site owners or managers who sell and collect pitch fees for unlicensed park homes, including allowing holiday homes to be used for residential purposes, can be ordered to repay all pitch fees and reasonable costs incurred including the purchase cost of the park home to the park home owner.  Orders can also be used to refund park home owners pitch fees where site owners have breached their site manager responsibilities or licence conditions.


All definitions remain as per the Caravan Sites & Control of Development Act 1960, the Caravan Sites Act 1968 and the Mobile Homes Act 1983.


This legislation does not cover Gypsy and traveller sites as these sites are exempted from site licence requirements as set out in Paragraph 11A of Schedule 1 of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960.


To make transitional arrangements for the coming into force of this legislation.  


The Bill will affect or is related to:


Include relevant persons: Site owners, current and prospective park home owners
Include relevant agencies: Local Authorities, Residential Property Tribunal


In preparing this Bill I have:


Undertaken consultation with: DCI Mark Colquhoun, Assembly Members, Consumer Focus Wales, park home owners
Spoken to: DCI Mark Colquhoun, Assembly Members, park home owners, British Holiday and Home Parks Association
Worked with: Consumer Focus Wales
The Minister has indicated: broad support


Policy background:


There are several relevant major research papers available. These include “Economics of the Park homes Industry”, “Criminality within the Park home Industry – Best Practice Guidance”, “Park home Living in England”, and “Residential Mobile Homes in Scotland”. 


Other important documents to consider:
 Economics of  the Park Homes Industry – published jointly by ODPM and WAG (2002)
Harassment and Unlawful Eviction of Park Home Residents – DETR (2000)
Government Response to the Recommendations of the Park Homes Working Party – DETR (2001)
 Park Home Site Licensing: Proposals for Reform ODPM and WAG (January 2005)


In England, the Department for Communities and Local Government have produced a series of factsheets on aspects of park home living. Consumer Focus Wales have recently produced a leaflet for park home residents, listing their rights under the Mobile Homes Act and other legislation.


The Housing Act 2004 implemented a number of the recommendations of the 2000 Park homes Working Party. In 2005, UK Government consultations were held on amending the Implied Terms in the Mobile Homes Act, and on Written Statements. Regulations to implement changes to the implied terms came into force in Wales in 2007.


In May 2009 the UK Government and Welsh Ministers published a joint consultation, “Park home Site licensing - Improving the Management of Residential Park home Sites” which considered how a new licensing system might look. A further paper was published in March 2010 which set out the options for improving the management of park home sites, “Park homes site licensing reform: The way forward and next steps”. No measures were passed before the 2010 General Election and the 2011 Welsh Election. 


In March 2011, the National Assembly for Wales gained primary law making powers. In February 2012, the Order to transfer the jurisdiction on appeals and applications under the 1983 Act from county courts to Residential Property Tribunals was laid alongside its Regulations. These come into force on 21 March 2012. 


Currently in Wales, the Welsh Government has recently closed their consultation “Meeting the Housing Challenge” and they will be publishing a Housing Bill next year. Consumer Focus Wales are carrying out a major research project into park home life in Wales, and will be publishing findings to the Welsh Government in October 2012. 


In England, the UK Government has announced a forthcoming public consultation on aspects of park home site licensing reform and sale blocking abuses. There is currently an on-going Communities and Local Government Select Committee inquiry into park homes. Consumer Focus Investigations are carrying out a major research project into park home life in England, and will be publishing findings to the UK Government in October 2012. 


In Scotland, the Scottish Government published a consultation policy paper asking for views on amending the implied terms in the Mobile Homes Act 1983 in 2011. Recommendations are yet to be published. The Scottish Government also have a Residential Mobile Homes Stakeholder Working Group. Consumer Focus Investigations are carrying out a major research project into park home life in Scotland, and will be publishing findings to the Scottish Government in October 2012.


Legislative competence

The legislative competence of the National Assembly is confined to listed subjects which do not fall within any exception(s).


Part 1 of Schedule 7 to GOWA 2006 sets out the areas that can be the subject of Bills and at the following paragraphs:-
11 Housing includes “residential caravans and mobile homes”.
12 Local Government includes “Powers and duties of local authorities and their members and officers. Local government finance”.
18 Town and Country Planning includes “caravan sites”
Current Legislative Framework; Mobile/ Park home Occupation


Primary Legislation 


The current legislative framework on the Occupation of Mobile / Park homes is contained mainly in the following key Acts:-


Caravan Sites & Control of Development Act 1960
Caravan Sites Act 1968 
Mobile Homes Act 1983


Caravan Sites & Control of Development Act 1960


The Act makes provisions about licensing and control of caravan sites
The main points to note about this Act include:-
Part 1, sections 1 to 12 cover the licensing of caravan sites
Section 24 covers local authorities providing sites for caravans
Section 25 covers register of site licences
Section 26 covers powers of entry of local authority officers
“caravan” is defined as  “any structure designed or adapted for human habitation which is capable of being moved from one place to another (whether by being towed, or by being transported on a motor vehicle or trailer) and any motor vehicle so designed or adapted, but does not include—
(a)     any railway rolling stock which is for the time being on rails forming part of a railway system, or
(b)     any tent”
“Caravan sites” are defined in section 1(4) as “…..land on which a caravan is stationed for the purposes of human habitation and land which is used in conjunction with land on which a caravan is so stationed”.
Land cannot be used as a caravan site unless licensed and a site licence is obtained by the site owners from a Local Authority before land can be used as a site under this Act (Section 1). 
A site owner with no license is liable to a fine not exceeding £2,500.
No site licence is required for a caravan site if exempted by the list in Schedule 1 (Section 2)
Occupiers / site owners who wish to use land as a caravan site must apply for a licence from their Local Authority (Section 3). 
The Local Authority cannot refuse to grant a site owner a licence unless the applicant has had a licence revoked within the three previous years Section 3(6)). 
A Local Authority can attach conditions on site licences as they may think necessary or desirable to impose on the occupier of the land (Section 5(1)).
Conditions imposed can include the number of homes on a site, spacing, provision of amenities, restricting the total number of caravans which are stationed on the particular site at any one time.
Any licence granted cannot be time-limited unless the occupiers' use of the land as a caravan site is time-limited under planning law (Section 5). 
the Local Authorities have powers of enforcement if site license conditions are breached
places site owners are under a duty to comply with the site licenses issued by LA’s which usually contain clauses aimed at imposing minimum standards on parks. 
If an occupier of land / site owner breaches any site licence condition(s), they are guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding £2,500. This is the maximum fine on any conviction. 
If a site owner breaches any site licence conditions, then they are liable and could be fined and prosecuted by a Local Authority if the particular Local Authority pursues such prosecutions. 
Under section 25 every Local Authority is required to maintain an accurate register of site licences in its area, and every such register must be available for inspection by the public at “all reasonable times”.
Under section 26 local authority officers have a power of entry on any land used for a caravan site or in relation to an application for a site licence to determine whether site licence conditions should be attached or altered, to determine whether the Act has been breached etc 
Schedule 1 of the Act sets out the categories of cases in relation to which a caravan site licence is not required


Caravan Sites Act 1968 


The main points to note about this Act include:-
it covers owners and occupiers of a “protected site” 
“protected site” is a residential site which includes sites owned by a County Council 
it applies to caravans situated on a site which are occupied as a home rather than for temporary use for touring or for holiday use only 
it provides certain protections for mobile home occupiers against harassment or unlawful eviction.
It is a criminal offence to for an owner of a protected site or their agent to:-
harass or illegally evict an occupier who is living in a caravan which is situated on a protected site
deprive occupiers of the occupation of their mobile home carry out acts designed to interfere with the peace and comfort of an occupier or those residing with them with the intention of causing them to leave 
withhold services or facilities required for the occupation of the caravan as a residence on the site where in either case the owner knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the conduct is likely to cause harassment
in relation to eviction, it gives mobile home occupiers the right to stay until the Court grants possession. 
a court may suspend a possession order obtained by a private owner of a caravan site against an occupier of a caravan situated on the site


Mobile Homes Act 1983


The main points to note about this Act are set out below. 
The Act applies to:-
owners of residential mobile home sites 
all residents who own the mobile home they live in and rent the pitch from the site owner 
protected sites
privately owned licensed sites 
sites owned by local authorities 
The Act does not apply to persons who:-
rent the mobile home from the site owner 
use a mobile home or caravan for holiday purposes 
entitled to station and occupy a mobile home on a site before planning permission has been granted
The Act provides residents with the following rights:-
security of tenure 
the right to sell a mobile home on a site 
the right to give a mobile home to a member of the resident's family 
rights concerning the inheritance of a mobile home 
the right to have a written agreement setting out both the site owner's and the resident's responsibilities
The Act :- 
applies to any agreement under which a person is entitled to station a mobile home on land forming part of a protected site and to occupy it as their only or main residence
provides some security of tenure to occupiers of caravan sites by implying protective terms into licence agreements 
Mobile home' is the same as a 'caravan' for the purposes of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 
A 'protected site' is the same as a protected site for the purposes of the Caravan Sites Act 1968, but does not include any land occupied by a local authority as a caravan site providing accommodation for gypsies and or travellers. 
only applies to the land on which the mobile home is sited and any amenity land which is enjoyed with it, such as a garden. 


Housing Act 2004


Housing Act 2004 part 1 and part 4 (chapter 1) amends the Implied Terms including putting an obligation on the site owner to provide a written statement at least 28 days before the date on which any agreement for the sale of the mobile home to the proposed occupier is made


Statutory Instruments


The Mobile Homes (Commissions) Order 1983


This Order provides for a rate of 10% as the maximum rate of commission on the sale by an occupier of a mobile home.


The Mobile Homes Act 1983 (Amendment of Schedule 1)(Wales) Order 2007


This Order applies in relation to agreements for the stationing of mobile homes in Wales, and amends schedule 1 to the 1983 Act re implied terms to provide greater protection and security to occupiers and to confirm and clarify the parties rights and obligations.


The Mobile Home (Written Statements) (Wales) Regulations 2007


These Regulations set out the prescribed requirements of written statements including the form which is set out in the Schedule to the Regulations. 


The Mobile Homes Act 1983 (Jurisdiction of Residential Property Tribunal) (Wales) Order 2012


This Order transferred jurisdiction over park homes disputes in Wales under the Mobile Homes Act 1983 to the Residential Property Tribunal Service. 


Other legal provisions potentially applicable 


Utilities Act 2000


Powers are given to Ofgem and Ofwat to set maximum resale rules which state that a site owner cannot charge more for utilities such as water and energy etc than they are paying to the water or energy company. 


Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 


These Regulations govern and provide for offences relating to unfair commercial practice. Unfair commercial practices encompass a range of things including aggressive commercial practices, misleading actions or omissions etc.  


The Regulations create either way offences resulting in an unlimited fine or 2 years imprisonment on indictment, or a fine not exceeding £5000.


Protection from Harassment Act 1997


This Act covers behaviour that would amount to an offence under the Caravan Sites Act 1968.
Under the 1997 Act a basic offence is punishable on summary conviction to imprisonment for 6 months or a fine not exceeding £5000. 


Enterprise Act 2002


Some Councils (e.g Cornwall) have obtained enforcement orders under Part 8 of the Enterprise Act 2002 against site owners. Breaching the enforcement order is contempt of court and can result in a fine or imprisonment. 


Model Standards – Wales


In Wales, the Welsh Government’s “Model Standards 2008 for Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 – Section 5” were issued in July 2008, and apply to sites containing caravans used as permanent residential units. They do not apply caravans used exclusively for holidays or touring caravan sites, or sites occupied by Gypsies or Travellers etc 


These Model Standards are made under section 5(6) of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 which allows Welsh Ministers to specify model standards in relation to the provisions of facilities, services, adequate space between homes, adequate water, electricity, sanitation, refuse, equipment for caravan sites, and in deciding what (if any) conditions should attach to site licences that the Local Authority should have regard to. 


The current jurisdiction / powers of the Residential Property Tribunal


In relation to Mobile / Park Homes, in summary, the Residential Property Tribunal can determine a range of applications including:-


an application by an occupier for an order requiring the site owner to give them a written statement as to the terms of the agreement to occupy as required by the Act. 
an application by an occupier or a site owner to imply additional terms into an agreement 
an application by an occupier or a site owner to vary or delete express terms in an agreement and/or for an order to give effect to those terms 
an application by an occupier or a site owner relating to any question under the Mobile Homes Act 1983 or the agreement
an application by a site owner for authorisation to terminate for breach of agreement or because the sole or principal residency test is not met
an application by a site owner relating to detrimental effect of a home on the amenity of the site
an application by an occupier for the tribunal’s approval of a donee for the purposes of a gift of the mobile home and assignment of the agreement 
an application by a site owner for the tribunal’s approval for the temporary relocation of the home on another pitch forming part of the site
an application by an occupier for an order that, where the owner has required the home to be stationed on another pitch so that he can replace or carry out repairs to the base on which the home is stationed, the owner must secure that on completion of the replacement or repairs the home is returned to the original pitch
an application by a site owner for an order that the pitch fee is reviewed and for a determination of the amount of the new pitch fee
an application by a site owner for an order that proposed improvements be taken into account when the pitch fee is reviewed.
an application by the secretary of a residents association for an order recognising the association as a qualifying residents' association.
an application by a site owner for a termination order on the ground that 
the occupier has breached a term of the agreement and after having been given notice to remedy the breach has failed to do so within a reasonable time or
 that the occupier is not occupying the home as his only or main residence or 
that having regard to its condition the home is having a detrimental effect on the amenity of the site. 


In all of these cases the ground also requires that the tribunal considers whether it is reasonable for the agreement to be terminated.


Human Rights & ECHR


The Human Rights / Convention issues that appear to be potentially applicable include:-
Article 6 Right to a fair trial 
This Article provides that parties have the right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time and before an impartial tribunal. This includes their right to put their case and to question the case brought by the other party and to be given reasons for the decision. 
Article 8 Right to respect for private and family life
This Article provides that everyone has the right to respect for their private life, their home and their correspondence and that any internal inspection of the property will only be undertaken with the consent of the owner or occupier. The right to respect for your home will also cover the right to enjoy your home without interference or intrusion by others and the right of access to and occupation of your home.
Article 1 of the First Protocol: Protection of Property
This Article protects the right to the peaceful enjoyment of your property.


Gypsies and travellers


Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960


Section 29 of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 confirms that “caravan site” has the meaning assigned to it by subsection (4) of section 1 of that Act which states:-
“caravan site” means land on which a caravan is stationed for the purposes of human habitation and land which is used in conjunction with land on which a caravan is so stationed. 
Paragraph 11A of Schedule 1 to the Act covers Gipsy sites occupied by county councils or regional councils states that:- 


“A site licence shall not be required for the use of land occupied by a county council, or in Scotland by a regional council, as a caravan site providing accommodation for gipsies”.


The Caravan Sites Act 1968 


Section 1(2) defines a protected site as:-
“For the purposes of this Part of this Act a protected site is any land in respect of which a site licence is required under Part I of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 or would be so required if [paragraph 11 or 11A of Schedule 1 to that Act (exemption of gypsy and other [of Schedule 1 to that Act (exemption of] local authority sites)] were omitted, not being land in respect of which the relevant planning permission or site licence—
(a)     is expressed to be granted for holiday use only; or
(b)     is otherwise so expressed or subject to such conditions that there are times of the year when no caravan may be stationed on the land for human habitation”.


Mobile Homes Act 1983


Under section 5(1) of the Mobile Homes Act 1983, a 'protected site' is the same as a protected site for the purposes of the Caravan Sites Act 1968, ie a privately owned licensed site and site owned by a Local Authority but does not include any land occupied by a local authority as a caravan site providing accommodation for gypsies and or travellers. 


However, section 318 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 amends the Mobile Homes Act 1983 which means that in England a “protected site” does include   local authority gypsy and traveller sites in England.









Published 18th March 2011

Purbeck park home residents drop in for advice


Almost 100 local park home residents in Purbeck received support and advice at a recent “drop in” morning in Wareham.

Over a cup of tea and biscuits at Wareham Town Hall, residents were able to talk informally to a number of organisations which provide services to the local community.

The event was organised by Purbeck District Council and help and advice was provided by the Dorset Fire Service; Dorset Police; Dorset Energy Advice Centre; Mears handy van services; and “Links” a local network of people improving social care services.

Residents also discussed a range of other local matters with district council staff including how their parks are being run and planning, waste and recycling issues.

Comments from attendees included: “The event was very satisfactory in all areas, I liked the informal atmosphere.”  “It was very well presented.” Another said:  “I liked the friendly relaxed atmosphere.  There was lots of informative park home information”.

Richard Conway from Environmental Services at the Council said “I was so pleased to see the overwhelmingly positive response from the local park homes residents.  We will definitely be looking to run a similar event in the future”.


There are 9 licensed mobile home parks in Purbeck with in excess of 300 residential homes.    The sites are licensed by Purbeck District Council under the 


The site licence relates to the following areas:

Density and spacing of park homes
Road, gateways, paths and hardstandings
Fire safety and fire fighting equipment
Storage of LPG cylinders
Electrical installation
Water, drainage and waste disposal
Car parking and site notices

Sites are regularly inspected by the council and the council will also investigate enquiries by residents about their park and discuss the issues with the site owners.