Skip to main content

Park Home Site Licensing Provisions

Volume 492: debated on Tuesday 12 May 2009

I have today published a Consultation Paper, “Park Home Site Licensing—Improving the Management of Park Home Sites”, that proposes the introduction of an improved park home site licensing system.

Licensing of park home sites is currently governed by the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 (the 1960 Act), but the existing site licensing regime does not fully meet the needs of this part of the housing sector. Authorities in general are obliged to grant licences to anyone owning a park home site regardless of their suitability and cannot impose any condition relating to its management. Some sites are therefore run by unscrupulous or incompetent persons, and residents’ rights and expectation are often not met, some becoming victims of exploitation and intimidation.

The Government want a thriving and well run sector that provides sites where people want to live. We want a licensing system that raises and maintains standards on sites and ensures they are safe, well planned and properly managed with appropriate facilities and services to meet the needs of residents.

The consultation builds upon decisions about proposals taken following an earlier consultation in 2005 and sets out for further consideration how the new licensing system might look. Persons engaged in the management of park home sites will need to demonstrate they have the relevant competences to manage sites. The new system will give local authorities duties to impose management conditions in licences and a range of enforcement tools to ensure that site licensing conditions are complied with. It will also allow local authorities to recover their costs in connection with their duties under the new provisions by charging appropriate fees. The proposals are intended to drive up the management standards in this sector and, in those parts of it where that is not possible, we intend to give local authorities powers to put alternative management arrangements in place.

I have also today published a paper setting out the Government’s response to the May 2008 consultation “A new approach for resolving disputes and to proceedings relating to Park Homes under the Mobile Homes Act 1983 (as amended)”. The paper sets out the Government’s intention to transfer the jurisdiction on appeals and applications under the Mobile Homes Act 1983 from county courts to Residential Property Tribunals. The paper also includes a short consultation on additional protections for residents subject to proceedings in relation to the termination of their agreements following on from the previous consultation.

The aim of the transfer of the jurisdiction is to provide residents of mobile homes (including caravans) and the owners of sites on which they are located with a level playing field in the resolution of disputes, by providing access to a dedicated, low-cost specialist (housing) tribunal, which can deal with cases quickly and without the parties needing to be legally represented.

Park home residents and the sector more widely will benefit from the introduction of these proposals and will build upon work already done to assist and support residents and others with an interest in park homes. This also includes the recent publication of four new fact-sheets giving key information and basic guidance about commonly raised issues concerning park home sites.

The consultation on site licensing runs until 4 August 2009, and on the additional protections in relation to termination of agreements until 9 June 2009. Both publications have been placed in the Library of the House.