Firm loses out second time round in bid to retain mobile homes for seasonal workers

These are the mobile homes at Padro House, Chittering, that have been refused permission to remain b

These are the mobile homes at Padro House, Chittering, that have been refused permission to remain by East Cambs Council. - Credit: Archant

A company has been told it can no longer keep three caravans for seasonal workers on its land.

Steve Ripley of Padro House, The Produce Connection at Chittering lost round one in July when East Cambs Council refused him retrospective planning permission to keep the three mobile homes.

He’s now lost round two when the council refused a second application – this time claiming the caravans had been there since 2005 and justified ‘a certificate of lawfulness’.

Planners who went out to inspect the yard concluded the mobile homes had only been in their present spot last November. The Produce Connection argued they had been there since 2005 – and had evidence to proof it – but planners said they were elsewhere on the site.

Where they are positioned ‘does not contribute to the framework’ need to satisfy the requirements of a certificate of lawfulness.

The council said that on the basis of the information submitted, the information available to the council, and on the balance of probability, they were not satisfied that the evidence in support of this application demonstrates 10 years on the same site.

“At this time, the continued use of the site for the aforementioned purpose is therefore unlawful,” Mr Ripley has been told.

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The council concluded that “the decision to refuse this application has been taken, having regard to the policies and proposals in the Local Development Plan and all relevant material considerations.

“The proposal is considered to be unsustainable and the applicant was informed of officer concerns regarding the period of time that the caravans have been in their new position.”

In their first refusal they were told by planning manager Rebecca Saunt that a need for the homes at the site had not been justified and so permission was refused.

“The proposal is deemed to not meet the functional or financial test to demonstrate an essential need,” she said.

The application was contrary to the council’s local plan “and it is considered not needed to support a rural economy and is unsustainable”.

Although local councillors raised no concerns or objections, the council was made aware of issues raised by its environmental health officers. Although they had no objections in principle they said the caravans would need to be licensed.