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Caravan site licence

If you want to use land as a caravan site you'll need a licence. You'll probably need planning permission too.

Before applying for a licence, check to see if you need planning permission.

One of our officers will arrange to inspect the site to discuss the conditions and requirements of the licence. Conditions cover a range of health and safety standards and can include:

  • the type of caravan allowed on site
  • number of caravans
  • when the site can be used
  • water supplies
  • sanitary provisions, such as toilets and washing facilities
  • caravan spacing
  • fire safety
  • roadways

You do not need a licence if:

  • the caravan is in the grounds of a home and is used as part of the home
  • a single caravan is sited for not more than two consecutive nights for a maximum of 28 days in any 12 month period
  • there are up to three caravans on a site of not less than five acres for a total of 28 days in any 12 month period
  • the site is occupied by exempted organisations such as the Caravan Club
  • the site has up to five caravans, is certified by an exempted organisation and is for members only
  • the site is occupied by the council, usually gypsy and traveller sites
  • the site is for temporary and special purposes such as caravan rallies, agricultural and forestry workers, builders
  • the site is for tents only and used for a maximum of 28 days in any 12 month period


There is no fee for the licence.

Apply for a caravan and camping site licence (opens new tab)

Licence enforcement

Once issued, the Council can alter the licence conditions at any time. We'll give licence holders the opportunity to make representation about any proposed changes.

We can take enforcement action for a breach of licence conditions. A compliance notice may be served to the site owner, listing the necessary action to address the issues. If the terms are not complied with, we may decide to prosecute in a magistrates' court.

In an emergency where the site owner has failed to comply with a site condition and their actions present an imminent risk to the health and safety of others we may decide to take action ourselves and will recover the costs of carrying out the work. The site owner has the right to appeal if they think that it was unreasonable for the action to be taken by us or that the residents on the site were not in imminent risk of serious harm.

Residential caravan sites fit and proper person register

On 1 July 2021 the Mobile Homes (Requirement for Manager of Site to be Fit and Proper Person) (England) Regulations 2020 came into force. The regulations prohibit the use of land as a residential mobile home site unless the local authority is satisfied that the owner or manager of the site is a fit and proper person to manage the site.

The purpose of the fit and proper person test is to improve the standards of residential mobile home site management.

Fit and proper register

What sites do the regulations apply to?

All relevant protected sites, as defined in section 5A(5) of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960. This includes both wholly residential and mixed use (holiday and residential) sites. The only sites exempted by the regulations are those occupied by members of the same family and not being run as commercial (where units are sold or rented to residents) residential sites.

Who does the fit and proper person assessment apply to?

Either the site owner or the person appointed by the site owner to manage the site must be a fit and proper person. This person is referred to as the ‘relevant person’ in the regulations. The person who is on the register should be the person with day to day responsibility for the running of the site.

It's the responsibility of the site owner to make the application, even if it's the site manager who will be on the register. If a site isn't owned by an individual, the application must be made on their behalf by a ‘relevant officer’. Who the relevant officer is will depend on the circumstances of the site’s ownership:

  • Where the site owner is a company, the relevant officer will be a director or other officer of the company
  • Where the site owner is a partnership, the relevant officer will be a partner
  • Where the site owner is a body corporate, the relevant officer will be a member where the conduct of the management of the body is vested in its members
  • Where the site owner doesn't fall into any of the above categories, the relevant officer will be a member of the management committee
  • Where there are joint site owners, only one of the owners needs to make the application on behalf of them all.

What is a fit and proper person?

As part of the application to be on the fit and proper person register, the site owner must provide information relating to the conduct of the person who they are applying to be on the register (the ‘relevant person’), and their ability to secure the proper management of the site. Included in this information will be whether the relevant person:

  • Has committed any offence involving fraud or other dishonesty, violence, arson or drugs or listed in Schedule 3 to the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (offences attracting notification requirements)
  • Has contravened any provision of the law relating to housing, caravan sites, mobile homes, public health, planning or environmental health or of landlord and tenant law
  • Has contravened any provision of the Equality Act 2010 in, or in connection with, the carrying on of any business
  • Has harassed any person in, or in connection with, the carrying on of any business
  • Is, or has been within the past ten years, personally insolvent
  • Is, or has been within the past ten years, disqualified from acting as a company director
  • Has the right to work in the UK
  • Is a member of any redress scheme for dealing with complaints in connection with the management of the site
  • Has had an application to be included on a fit and proper register rejected by any other local authority

A basic criminal record certificate (Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate) must also be provided dated no earlier than six months before the date of the application. DBS applications can be made directly through GOV.UK.

What is the application process?

Operating a site without a fit and proper person in place and withholding information or including false or misleading information on an application are offences under the regulations, liable on summary conviction to an unlimited fine.

Application form

Please complete and send to:

Office of The Director of Public Health
Licensing Department Public Protection Service
Plymouth City Council
Ballard House
West Hoe Road

Or email to:

How much will it cost?

Currently there is no cost for this licence.

Under the regulations, local authorities are able to charge two types of fees to cover their costs, an application fee to cover the cost of receiving and processing applications and an annual fee to cover the cost of monitoring the scheme. Local authorities may include a person on the fit and proper register for such a period as it decides appropriate, but this may not exceed five years.

As this is a new requirement and the level of management, and therefore cost, involved in the application and ongoing monitoring process isn't clear at this stage, we've taken the decision that, whilst the fit and proper person process and register is being established, all relevant persons will be entered on to the register for an initial period of 12 months. This is so that a process can be designed which is as effective and efficient as possible, and so that a fees policy can be developed which properly reflects the work required to manage and maintain the register.

Caravan site rules

The site owner can set site rules on residential caravan sites. Although we don't enforce these rules, some rules may be a duplicate of the site licence conditions. The site rules are part of the contract between the home owner and site owner, and supplement the Mobile Homes Act Agreement.

We're required to keep and publish a register of site rules. We'll update this page when we're notified by site owners that rules are in force. The rules that appear below have been written by the site owners, and not Plymouth City Council.

Tacit consent applies. This means that you can assume your application has been successful unless you hear from us within 42 days.