Park homes and caravan site licences

You will need a licence to run most caravan sites. There are some exemptions, for an overview and to find out if you need a licence or not, visit: Gov.UK, caravan site licence

Before you apply for a licence you need to make sure the land you want to operate from has planning permission to be used as a caravan site.

Information for new site owners

In West Suffolk you will need a licence in order to use your land as a mobile home/caravan site. You can apply for a licence from the local council that your land is located in. This will be either Forest Heath District Council or St Edmundsbury Borough Council.

If a licence is granted, there may be conditions attached, these may include:

  • restricting when caravans can be on the site for human habitation
  • restricting the number of caravans that can be on the site at any one time
  • controlling the types of caravans on the site
  • controlling the positioning of the caravans
  • regulating the use of other structures and vehicles including tents
  • ensuring steps are taken to enhance the land, including planting/replanting of bushes and trees
  • imposing fire safety and fire fighting controls
  • ensuring that sanitary and other facilities, services and equipment are supplied and maintained

Licences will not be issued to applicants who have had a site licence revoked within three years of the current application.

The Mobile Homes Act 2013

The Mobile Homes Act 2013 was passed in March 2013; it amends the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960. The Act aims to improve housing standards, give greater protection to home owners and to allow local authorities more effective enforcement methods.

The new powers came into effect from 1st April 2014 mean that councils can:

  • charge fees for new residential site licences, licence transfers and variations
  • charge an annual fee to existing residential site licence holders
  • refuse a licence (or refuse to transfer a licence)
  • if necessary serve and enforce 'compliance notices' and undertake emergency works together with the power to recover expenses and costs relating to works in default
  • be the keeper of 'site rules.' These rules must be deposited with the council by site operators between 28 and 42 days after service of the consultation response document. The Act allows a small fee to be charged for depositing these rules.
  • Current site rules deposited with West Suffolk councils 

Licence fees

As part of the Mobile Homes Act 2013 any council that charges fees must prepare and publish a fees policy, which can be revised from time to time.

Sites that are for holiday use only or only allow units stationed on them at certain times of the year are exempt from licensing fees. Sites with up to two units are also exempt from licensing fees.

The fees adopted by Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council are as follows:

Number of pitches Cost of new application for site licence Annual fee/admin and monitoring
3 - 5 pitches £200 £126.05
6 - 24 pitches £225 £240.46
25 - 99 pitches £240 £558.48
100 - 199 pitches £260 £1386.50
200+ pitches £260 £2268.83

Cost of depositing site rules with the council £25.

Cost of variation and deletion of site rules or transfer of licence to a new occupier £100.

To apply for a licence

You will need to apply to the licensing authority where your caravan site is located. This is usually the local council, if you do not know who that is, see: Gov.UK, find your local council

In West Suffolk, there are two licensing authorities, Forest Heath District Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council. To apply, click on the council that is relevant to your caravan site location.

How long is my licence valid for?
The licence is valid for as long as the land has planning permission to be used as a caravan site.

Does tacit authorisation apply?
Yes, a decision should be reached within 28 days.

Mobile home owners

If you are a mobile home owner and would like more information about your rights, see our page 'Mobile homes'