Travelling around the countryside with your own temporary home can be the perfect way to spend your summers. While owning a caravan can be great while you're using it, what about when you are not travelling or away on holiday? Part of caravan ownership is figuring out how and where to store your unit during the times when it is not in use.
The rules differ for touring caravans and static caravans, so below we discuss some of the legalities and regulations involved in finding a place to safely and legally place or store your caravan while you are not using it.
Where can I put my caravan in the UK?
There are various locations where you may place or keep your caravan. These locations really boil down to these main areas:
- At a purpose-built caravan park
- On your own private land
- At your home (e.g., driveway or area around your house)
- On the road
- At a purpose-built static caravan park
- On your own private land
- At your home (e.g., the area around your house)
Options 2, 3 and 4 especially will need to adhere to certain regulations; options 2 and 3 may require you to obtain planning permission depending on how long you intend to reside in the unit and what you will use it for. And if you're looking to move your static caravan to a new location you'll need to hire a specialist company.
Parking Your Touring Caravan
Can I park my caravan on the road?
You may be surprised to learn that you can park a touring caravan on the road, if you follow certain rules and it's allowed by your local authority. Legally speaking you are entitled to park your caravan on the road provided that it does not cause any obstruction or other obvious safety issues.
The caravan must be positioned so that the rear lights are visible to oncoming traffic and the caravan must be lit as a safety precaution. If a caravan is detached the vehicle that tows it and left on the road, at least one of its wheels must be prevented from moving with a brake, chain, chock or other effective device.
Ensure that along with complying with any legal parking restrictions, there are no housing area or local authority rules that prohibit street parking for your caravan. Many local councils have strict regulations governing on-street parking of such vehicles and may take legal action if you are in breach of any rules.
Can I park my caravan on my drive?
As it is your driveway and your property the general rule is yes—most homeowners can park a caravan on their drive (but don't expect your homeowners insurance to cover damage to your caravan just being it's sitting on your drive). Generally speaking, you're free to leave your caravan on your drive, garden, or privately owned land—provided it's not acting as a main dwelling.
However, as above many local private home associations have rules applying to leaving caravans or other vehicles on your property so you will want to check with them to ensure that you are in compliance. Local authorities may also have their own separate set of rules governing driveway parking for certain areas so check with them too.
Do I need planning permission to store a touring caravan?
No, you don't generally need planning permission to store a caravan—unless the caravan becomes part of your main dwelling. You can have a caravan sitting on your driveway as long as you like without the need for planning permission. You can even use the vehicle as an annex to your property for certain things like an office or an extra bedroom.
Planning permission will be required if the caravan is to be used as an entirely separate area. For instance, if you wanted to rent it out as an Airbnb or holiday home then planning permission rules would apply. As with the previous sections, there may be local neighbourhood or council covenants restricting use in this manner so check the local laws and regulations.
Parking Your Static Caravan
Do I need planning permission for a static caravan?
If you want to have a static caravan on your land, property or driveway, you may need to obtain planning permission. As with a touring caravan planning permission will not usually be necessary if you are using the static caravan as an additional area of your main home (e.g., a gym or office—an area that adds to the enjoyment of your main home). Also, a caravan temporarily sited to home agricultural workers or construction workers on a building site normally doesn't require planning permission.
However if your caravan is to be used as a separate dwelling or hired out (e.g. as a holiday rental) you are likely to need to apply for planning permission for a material change in use. All that said, local authorities may limit usage further so it's best to check with your local authority directly to see if you need planning permission.
Can I put my static caravan on any site?
There has been an increase in recent years of purpose-built static caravan parks and areas. While these parks have been in evidence for many years as holiday homes many people are now using them as an option for permanent living. While most of these sites will be affiliated with caravan manufacturers and provide models as show homes and to purchase you are not necessarily limited to these models alone. Most parks will allow you to move your own static caravan to their site provided it complies with their standards.
Your unit may need to be a specific size or no more than a certain number of years old to be permitted onto some sites but provided you meet all the specifications most parks are happy for you to locate your own unit on their property.
Many people wish to move their caravan from their current site as a result of increasing fees or a variety of other reasons. While many parks and purpose-built caravan areas will allow relocated caravans you should not be fooled in thinking that this automatically applies to all sites. Many have strict rules about the caravans they allow based on the size or age of your unit, as well as caravan insurance requirements. You should always check with any locations that you are thinking of relocating to and ask what their specific restrictions are before trying to relocate your unit.
How much are static caravan fees?
The fees to park your caravan at a site vary by location, but you can expect to pay fees in the region of £1,000 to £5,000+ per year. Fees are a fact of life if you are a static caravan owner. The cost of keeping your caravan at a purpose-built park as well as the park's amenities can drastically affect the yearly fees charged by the park's management team.
For a small park with not much in the way of facilities you might pay around £1,000 per year, but for a high-end park with fishing lakes, playgrounds, and leisure style amenities you could be looking at upwards of £5,000 per year. These fees cover park maintenance and the upkeep of any amenities, repairs, mowing, stocking lakes, staffing clubhouses and a host of other costs. So the more facilities, the higher the annual fees will be.
|Annual Static Caravan Site Fees|
|Small park with few facilities||£1,000|
|High-end caravan site with many facilities||up to £5,000+|