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Mobile Homes Site Licence Fee Policy

Introduction

Under the requirements of the Caravan and Control of Development Act 1960, we are required by law to licence caravan and mobile homes sites within our district, unless they fall into the category of exempted sites (as covered by the First Schedule of the Act).

In addition to the above, the introduction of The Mobile Homes Act 2013 (The Act) now provides greater protection to occupiers of residential park homes and caravans. It introduces important changes to the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960. The changes directly affect the way the Council licenses permanent residential sites (known as relevant protected sites).

For legal purposes, sites are separated into 3 main types: - Touring, Static Holiday and Static Residential. Following the introduction of the Mobile Homes Act 2013, we can now charge fees to licence Static Residential sites also known as Park Homes and Relevant Protected Sites.

From 1 April 2014 local authorities have been able to charge fees for relevant protected sites on the following basis:

  • Considering applications for the issue or transfer of a site licence
  • Considering applications for altering conditions of a site licence
  • Administration and monitoring of site licence conditions
  • Enforcement action

The definition of a relevant protected site is defined in the Mobile Homes Act 2013. A protected site is a mobile home park which has planning permission to have residents living there as their main residence throughout the year. A holiday park isn't a protected site. An exemption from the protected sites description and annual licensing fee requirement applies on any site/s available for the sole use of the owner and their families. A single family permanent residential site is a relevant protected site, but the Council may choose to exempt these sites from the annual licence condition monitoring fee.

Fees

The council is able to charge for certain different licence fees and annual monitoring fees for mobile home sites. These licences are:

  1. Application for the grant of a site licence
  2. Application for the transfer of a site licence
  3. Application to alter the conditions of an existing site licence, and
  4. The application of annual site monitoring fees (a 'fee per pitch')
  5. Application to register as a 'fit and proper person' (new fee from 1 July 2021)

For items one to three (inclusive) above, we will charge based on a banding system and the following fees will apply:

Banding table
Number of mobile homes Band
200+ 5
100-199 4
51-99 3
11-50 2
1-10 1

Please note: A local authority is not required to consider an application for the grant of a licence, a transfer of a licence or an application to alter conditions unless that application is accompanied by the correct fee.

Application for the grant of a site licence

All sites require a site licence to operate, subject to exemptions under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960. Only sites with valid and correct planning permission for the use will be issued with a licence.

Fees for new site licences are based on a fixed cost of processing the application according to the size of the site.  

Application fees are not refundable if the application is not approved.

New site licence application
Charge to the site owner Band 5 Band 4 Band 3 Band 2 Band 1
£854.50 £697.00 £562.00 £425.50 £380.50

Application for the transfer of a site licence

Where a licence holder wishes to transfer the licence an application must be made to the council.

A fixed fee is applicable which must accompany the application to transfer the licence.

Application to transfer a site licence
Charge to the site owner Band 5 Band 4 Band 3 Band 2 Band 1
£170.92 £139.40 £112.40 £85.10 £76.10

Application for the alteration to the conditions of an existing licence

Where a site owner requests an amendment to the site licence conditions the council will charge a fee which is payable at the application stage.

If the council instigates an amendment to the licence conditions there will be no fee payable.

Application to amend site licence fee structure
Total charge to the site owner (£) Band 5 Band 4 Band 3 Band 2 Band 1
£281.99 £230.01 £185.46 £140.42 £125.57

Details of the basis of calculation of these fees is shown in appendix 1.

Depositing of site rules

We will charge a fee of £50 to deposit site rules and to publish them on our website.

Annual site monitoring fee

It is a the local authority's discretion whether they charge for all or any aspect of the site licensing. Ashford Borough Council has decided to charge an annual licensing fee to cover part of its cost in monitoring our park homes. This fee can be passed onto the individual plot-holders through the annual pitch fee.

Our licence fee is calculated on a price per unit based on the total cost of carrying out our licensing functions for our sites divided equally by the total number of units over all our relevant protected sites (10 or more units).

The method to determine the total annual site monitoring fee is based on the following formula:

(A/60) x B)/D

A = Admin and inspection time in minutes based on banding on those sites with 10 or more units: This has been calculated on our five main sites in our borough – see appendix 1 for total hours for each banding.

Formula banding
Banding Number of sites Hours
100-199 2 2 x 1142
51-99 1 1 x 753
11-50 2 2 x 687

Total hours = 4,411

B = Officer hourly rate (£30)

D = Number of relevant protected mobile homes, based on our commercial sites – there are currently 392 total in the borough.

Therefore: (A(total hours – 4,411) /60) x B(£30 hourly rate) / D(392) = £5.66

The above calculation provides an annual licence fee based on £5.66 per pitch. The pitch fee will apply only to the number of units on your site licence conditions. For example, a site with current residential permission for 100 relevant protected mobile homes on its site licence conditions will be required to pay an annual site fee of £540. Sites with 10 plots or fewer will have no annual monitoring fee applied.

See appendix 1 for calculations in determining the base levels for admin and inspection times.

The calculation and methodology relating to the above, and other proposed fees set out in the policy, were developed in accordance with the guidance provided by the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) on setting of site licence fees.

The above   fee is based on the introduction of the first calculation of the pitch fee in 2017, further fees are set in accordance with deficits and surplus. The current pitch fee for 2019/20 = £7:21

Application to register as a 'fit and proper person'

From 1 July 2021, the council must be satisfied that the occupier of the land used as a relevant protected site or a person appointed by the occupier to manage the site, is a fit and proper person. If necessary, the council can appoint a person to manage the site.

An occupier means a person who is entitled to the possession of the land as under section 1(3) of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960.

Single family site owners that are not operating as a commercial business are exempt from the requirement to be a fit and proper person test.

The council must establish and maintain a register of persons they are satisfied are fit and proper to manage a relevant protected site in their area.

The council is not required to consider an application for entry on the register unless that application is accompanied by the correct fee. If the correct fee is not paid, the application will not be valid and the site owner could be in breach of the Regulations

If the council decides not to approve an application the applicant is not entitled to a refund of the fee paid.

Where an application for a Fit & Proper Person test has been successful the applicants will be included on the public register for a period of 5 years.

Application to register as a Fit and Proper Person = £160.00

Table for calculating fee for 'fit and proper person' application test
Fit and proper person application Minutes
Send out application form 30
Receipt of application, background checks and processing 120
Time for reviewing necessary documents and certificates 60
Manager review 20
Preparing preliminary and final decision notices 60
Update database and public register 30
Total time (minutes) 320
Total time (hours) 5.33
Hourly rate (£) 30.00
Total charge for application (£) 160.00

 

There is also provision for the council to appoint a person to manage a site, with the site owner’s consent. In this instance, any costs incurred or to be incurred, in making the appointment will be recharged to the site owner on the same basis as enforcement costs are calculated.

The council could decide to include the person on the register subject to a condition(s).

The council may add or alter conditions attached to an entry on a register by adding new conditions or changing or deleting existing ones, following a review.

The council will notify the site owner of its interim decision (except in the case where it is deleting a condition) and consider any representations made by the site owner, before reaching a final decision. If the site owner is unhappy with the decision to alter or not alter the conditions, they have the right to appeal to a tribunal.

There are no requirements for a site owner to make an application for a condition to be altered. Any costs involved with amending existing conditions, or adding new conditions to an entry, must also be factored into the cost of calculating the annual fee.

Officer time can be considered as part of the fee, where site visits are required to ascertain whether or not site condition(s) are met. Travel time to and from the site, including fuel costs, can also be taken into account and could be calculated using a single value for travel costs which could be applied to all sites.

Any costs involved with amending existing conditions or adding new conditions to an entry will be factored into the cost of calculating the annual fee.

Payment of annual monitoring fee

Annual fees are due on 5 May each year. Site owners will be notified by letter of the fee due one month before.

Where a fee becomes overdue for payment, the council may apply to a residential property tribunal for an order requiring the licence holder to pay the council the amount due by the date specified in the order. If the licence holder has still not paid the fee within three months from the date specified in the order, the council may apply to the tribunal for an order revoking the site licence.

Exclusion from the annual charge

The licence fee requirement will not apply to the following sites:

  • Sites for holiday use only
  • Sites where conditions require that there are times of the year when no caravan may be stationed on the land for human habitation
  • Sites that are occupied only by the site owner and his/her family or by a person employed by the site owner except where under an agreement to which the Mobile Homes Act 1983 applies
  • Residential sites where there are 10 or fewer pitches are exempt from annual licensing fees, as the council does not intend to carry out annual inspections of these sites. However, we will continue to respond to complaints at these sites and take any appropriate action if necessary.

Review

As this is a new provision, the policy for fee calculations will be reviewed every year to assess any changes that need to be made. As a minimum, we would expect to adjust fees in line with inflation, but officers will also have regard to the volume of work linked to our obligations in legislation, and will amend the charges based on identified time spent in work related to mobile home sites.

In setting annual fees each year, we will inform the site owner of the extent to which they have had regard to any surpluses/deficits from the previous year, as well as the basis of charge and will confirm to the site owner the annual fee for the forthcoming year.

Enforcement expenses

The Mobile Homes Act 2013 provides provisions for charging for enforcement action, which will include the cost to the local authority of taking formal action leading up to and including any enforcement.

We will recover expenses incurred in carrying out enforcement action involved in the service of a compliance notice. These expenses include costs incurred in deciding whether to serve a notice, site inspections, preparing the notice and obtaining expert advice.

Where appropriate, we will also seek to recover expenses incurred in taking action for the following:

  • conviction of the site owner for failure to carry out actions required by a compliance notice
  • taking emergency action where there is an imminent risk of serious harm to any person on the site as a result of the site owner's failure to comply with licence conditions

A site owner may not pass on costs of enforcement action to residents through the pitch fee.

Policy as of 1 April 2021

Appendix 1

Table for setting a new licence application fee
Process and time in minutes 200+ 100-199 51-99 11-50 1-10
Initial enquiries and correspondence to facilitate application (mins) 45 45 45 45 45
Receipt of application and background checks (mins) 75 75 75 75 75
Prepare for and organise visit (mins) 30 30 20 20 20
Site inspection (mins) 150 120 60 30 30
Travel time (mins) 60 60 60 45 30
Draft licence (including conditions) (mins) 150 120 90 60 60
Licence review and correspondence with site owner, residents and other interested parties (mins) 420 360 300 180 160
Manager review (mins) 45 30 20 15 15
Issue licence and register (mins) 30 30 30 30 30
Prepare for and organise revisit (mins) 30 30 20 20 10
Re-visit (mins) 360 240 180 210 180
Re-visit travel time (mins) 80 80 80 40 40
Secondary review and correspondence (mins) 180 120 90 45 30
TOTAL TIME (MINS) 1,655 1,340 1,070 815 725
TOTAL TIME (HOURS) 27.56 22.33 17.83 13.58 12.08
HOURLY RATE (£) 30 30 30 30 30
AVERAGE MILEAGE (£9 RETURN TRIP) 27 27 27 18 18
TOTAL NEW APPLICATION CHARGE TO SITE OWNER (£) £854.50 £697.00 £562 £425.50 £380.50

Transfer a site licence – fee

Application to transfer site licence
Process 200+ 100-199 51-99 11-50 1-10
Charge to site owner £187.40 £139.40 £112.40 £85.10 £76.10

NB: 20% of new site application fee

Amend a site licence – fee

Application to amend site licence fee
Process 200+ 100-199 51-99 11-50 1-10
Charge to site owner £281.99 £230.01 £185.46 £140.42 £125.57

NB: 33% of new site licence application fee

Fixed admin and inspection time calculations used in formula to calculate annual licence fee
Process and time in minutes 200+ 100-199 51-99 11-50
Contact site owner to notify them of the time and date of the inspection and enter action on case management system (mins) 20 20 20 20
Prepare for and organise visit (mins) 30 30 20 20
Site inspection (mins) 240 180 90 60
Travel time (mins) 60 60 60 45
Licence review and correspondence with site owner, residents and other interested parties (mins) 60 60 60 60
Additional monitoring visits for larger sites (mins) 120 120 0 0
Complete inspection report and attach to case management system (mins) 60 60 60 60
Write to the owner detailing results of inspection and works required to remedy breaches plus any certificates required (mins) 60 60 60 60
Write to the owner following additional monitoring visit for larger sites (mins) 60 60 0 0
Enter the date of the inspection and the next routine inspection on management system (mins) 10 10 10 10
Follow up telephone conversations and letters (mins) 30 30 30 30
Follow up visit to check compliance (mins) 100 100 100 85
Record details of follow up visit (mins) 30 30 30 30
Annual admin (mins) 180 180 120 120
Determine level of compliance to decide next visit (mins) 20 20 20 20
Postage and printing and mileage costs. Larger sites require additional visits so higher mileage costs 18 18 10 10
Additional time for complicated cases (approximately 10% based on average of all applications) 110 104 63 57
TOTAL TIME (MINS) 1,208 1,142 753 687
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