Caravan and camping sites

Caravan sites summary

To station a caravan or mobile home on a piece of land and use it as a home, both Planning Permission and a licence have to be in place. Before a licence can be considered, Planning Permission for the use must be granted. You will usually also need a licence, but there are some exceptions, including:

  • Incidental use within the boundary of a dwelling house
  • A single caravan for not more that two nights and twenty-eight days in a year
  • Holdings of five acres or more if not more than twenty-eight days in a year and a maximum of three caravans at a time
  • Sites occupied and supervised by organisations exempted by the secretary of state
  • Sites approved by exempted organisations for up to five caravans
  • Meetings organised by exempted organisations
  • Agriculture and forestry workers
  • Building and engineering sites
  • Travelling showmen
  • Gypsy sites occupied by county councils

You will need to specify in writing exactly what type and number of caravans will be stationed on the land and what provisions will be made for water supply, drainage, power supply and fire precautions. A map detailing the land and the caravan positions on it will also need to be supplied. No fee is payable for a licence.

The Harlow Council Caravan Site Licence Standard Conditions (pdf) is a list of the standard conditions which will apply to a caravan licence:

Camping sites summary

If you allow your land to be used as a camping site by the public for more than 42 consecutive days or for more than 60 days in any consecutive 12 months, you require a camping site licence. Planning permission may also be required. There are exceptions for organisations that hold camping exemption certificates.

How to apply

Please contact Harlow Council for the application forms and current fees if applicable. You will also need as part of your application to submit plans for the proposed site, which must be based on a 1/2500 scale Ordnance Survey map:

  • Outline the site in red.
  • If the applicant owns or controls any adjoining land, this area should be shaded in blue.
  • The layout plan should show the positions of the facilities as appropriate and should distinguish between those already existing and those proposed.

Eligibility criteria

The applicant must be entitled to use the land as a caravan or camping site. Licences will not be issued to applicants who have had a site licence revoked within three years of the current application. What the law says

Application process

Applications for site licences are made to the local authority in whose area the land situated. Applications must be in writing, should detail the land the application concerns and any other information required by the local authority. Site licences may have conditions which restrict the number or type of caravans, and to ensure that sanitary and other facilities, services and equipment are supplied and maintained.

Harlow Council aim to process your application within 28 days of receiving it. As it is in the public interest that we process your application before it can be granted, please contact us if you have not heard from us by the end of this period.

Can I appeal if my application is refused?

Please contact Harlow Council in the first instance. Any applicant who is refused a licence or wants to object to a condition on the licence can appeal to their local Magistrates' court within 21 days of receiving notice of the decision.

Complaints about caravan or camping sites

If you wish to complain about a caravan or camping site in Harlow, which is causing a nuisance such as noise, or if you believe that there has been a breach of licence conditions, please contact Harlow Council.

You can report noise complaints online.