Legal Issue : Siting my Caravan

Aug 31, 2005
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We live towards the end of a quiet cul-de-sac in a small village in Kent. There is no through traffic and about 1 pedestrian per week will use the pavement. That's the background.

About 1 month ago we bought a Bailey Senator caravan and have parked it in our driveway. Unfortunately, the hitch does protrude out onto the pavement by a few feet. I immediately wrote to all my neighbours explaining the fact that we had bought a caravan and that its presence in the driveway would be temporary as our plan is to build a second drive to house the caravan out-of-site to the left of our house. The letter asked for our neighbours' understanding and tolerance whilst this work took place. Within 24 hours a neighbour (who is about 100 metres away and who is in no way is impacted by the caravan), called me to complain bitterly about the risk to 'little old ladies' 'and mothers with prams'. I agreed that the location was not ideal and that I was planning to move the caravan in the near future as per the plans already explained in the letter. He threatened me with police and court action. Naturally the conversation did not conclude amicably.

I have now received a letter from the Kent council Traffic dept who advise that they have recently paid a visit (what a coincidence!) and that the caravan's protrusion onto a public highway poses a risk. They have asked me to move it.

Question : What is the legal position here? I fully accept that the protrusion is unsightly but I have placed a red warning triangle on the hitch so that only a totally blind person would fail to se it! Am I allowed to park it in the road? This would not cause an obstruction per se, but would be far more inconvenient to the neighbours who, as I said, never use the pavement at all; everybody comes and goes by car.

Thanks for any help and advice you can offer.

John
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Unfortunately, I think the Kent traffic department are the ones who will know what the legal position is and whilst you suspect they have been tipped off it may be in your best interests to converse with them directly. If you put your point of view and the fact you will be recitfying the situation as soon as possible( have you got a builders letter with start dates etc you could also enclose) they may be sympathethic to your situation. Knowing how local authorities work I wouldn't hold your breath but a softly softly approach will be infinately better than going in guns blazing. The only other alternative is to put your new van in storeage until you get the second drive done.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Morning John - I do not envy you your problem. Two points

First I think your local council is able to make sure that the pavements are unobstructed - here the NFDC told people with hedges that went over onto the pavement that they would have to cut them back or the NFDC would do it for them and send them the Bill!!

Secondly we are not talking about a "permanent" thing like a hedge. Therefore why not ring your highways and byways department and explain to them your predicament and give them a timescale of how long it will take until your new drive is built. It may be that you can use the normal Local Council "one hand does not know what the other is doing" to get a letter saying what you are doing is ok - at least for a short period. Of course it depends upon the extent of your protusion!! A few inches would probably be ok but more than a foot you are probably way out of order.

Other suggestions - Our friends have a similar problem but solved it by putting the caravan in front first and running the A frame down the side of the house. This enables the whole 'van to be on their land.

What about putting it on a site for a week whilst the work is done?

Finally - DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE FINANCIAL COST TO YOU IF YOU IGNORE THE LETTER AND THEN SOMEONE FALL BASE OVER APEX.

ANY PERSONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE YOU HAVE (VIA YOUR HOUSE INSURANCE FOR EXAMPLE) IS LIKELY TO BE REVOKED IN THE EVENT OF A CLAIM IF IT CAN BE SHOWN THAT YOU HAVE BROKEN THE LAW AND IGNORED SAID LETTER.

I think the best advice is don't prat about - just move it.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello Stephen,

You would need to consult a solicitor to verify the details, but as I understand it from your description, the protrusion over the pavement does constitutes a risk, probably an unauthorised obstruction.

With regard to parking on the road, yes in theory you can but it must parked on the left hand side of the carriage way, in the direction of the normal flow of traffic and with all its road lights displayed at night, as if it were a parked car, But again from your description it sound as though parking on the road is not a realistic proposition because of the obstruction it would cause for traffic needing to turn around in the cul-de-sac.

Regardless of how the traffic department became aware of the hazard, having received a notice to move it, it relay is in your best interests to remove it. If you don't you will be served with an enforcement notice, or the council may actually remove it and impound it. They will charge you for the service and its release.

May I suggest you do consider the implications if some one does injure themselves on the obstruction, You are clearly aware of it now, and if you fail to mitigate the hazard You would be liable, and your insurance company would probably be very reluctant to pay out, because you placed the obstruction there creating a public hazard, it was not an accidental happening. (Health and Safety law is dealt with as a criminal offence, and thus owner occupiers are as potentially liable as any trades person if they create a hazard in a public area)

Obviously I do not know the layout and the implications of creating your new drive, but if it were possible to open the new entrance now and move the van, your immediate problem is solved. Then with the luxury of time you can make storage arrangements for the van whilst your new drive is constructed.

I do believe you have little option but to comply with the traffic authorities instruction.
 
Aug 31, 2005
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Thanks for these views; all of which are sound and valid. I think that I shall be forced to adopt plan 'B' which is to rotate the van such that the 'A' frame (hitch) is now on our land. However that will make an obstacle course for anyone entering the property as they will be forced to step over the 'A' frame; but it WILL be on my property.

I just feel it rather sad that people can be so very petty. I shall call the local council and provide them with dates etc, but I do accept that were any injury to occur, then I wouldn't have a leg to stand on; although the risk must be infintessimal.

More likely that the said neighbour would arrange for someone to trip up !!

Thanks again

John
 
Mar 14, 2005
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unfortunately you predicament has happened to other caravanners as well,and it is unfortunate but im afraid the local council authority are correct here.

let it be known also,which i found out by some misgiving.that if there are gates across your driveway,those gates must open in over and not outover causing any impedement to people walking by on a footpath and beleive me this is correct
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Yes Klarky you are right about the gates not opening out - but a good way of overcoming the problem where space is tight is to make the gates removable. Our friends (mentioned above) have gates that open inwards normally when the caravan is not on the drive but by removing a metal locked bar the whole gate and its post can be removed.

Its a bit a pain certainly but I doubt anyone could pinch his caravan without making hell of a row!!
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hi John - one other point that has not been mentioned is that if you intend to construct a new drive for a hardstanding for the van any new access, or alterations to an existing access, to a public highway will require both planning and highways approval from the local authority. If, as you say, you have a problematic neighbour I would suggest that you obtain these consents prior to undertaking the work as the council could make you reinstate the works back to its original condition. I hope that you can resolve the problem and still keep an amicable friendship with your neighbours. Good luck
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hi John - one other point that has not been mentioned is that if you intend to construct a new drive for a hardstanding for the van any new access, or alterations to an existing access, to a public highway will require both planning and highways approval from the local authority. If, as you say, you have a problematic neighbour I would suggest that you obtain these consents prior to undertaking the work as the council could make you reinstate the works back to its original condition. I hope that you can resolve the problem and still keep an amicable friendship with your neighbours. Good luck
On the point of hardstandings, I should have said that you can concrete all your front garden as a hardstanding without local authority approval as long as you do not alter the vehicular access. Also check with the deeds of your house as there could be a covenant preventing you keeping a caravan at home on the premises.
 
Aug 31, 2005
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Colin : well, I certainly do not propose to alter or change the paving just that the left side of mt garden will now have an inward(!) opening gate. However, yes this will be a new access to the road. Thanks for pointing this out.

Since reading your comments, I have now arranged for my local caravan supplier to take the caravan for a few weeks - during which time, the new driveway will be built. I will though, make immediate contact with Planning Authority to get this on the radar!

Whew ..... what hassles !!!

Thanks to all for such helpful replies

John
 
Aug 31, 2005
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Right; thanks Colin (bridgend). I have now fired off a Planning Permission enquiry. In fact I already knew that if I palnned to chnage the kerb then I had to get approval (or not!)However I was unaware (until now) that to add a new access requires permsiion (probably).

No I do not believe here are any onerous clauses in teh deeds relating to caravans; but it was worth pointing out. Thanks again
 
Aug 31, 2005
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Morning John - I do not envy you your problem. Two points

First I think your local council is able to make sure that the pavements are unobstructed - here the NFDC told people with hedges that went over onto the pavement that they would have to cut them back or the NFDC would do it for them and send them the Bill!!

Secondly we are not talking about a "permanent" thing like a hedge. Therefore why not ring your highways and byways department and explain to them your predicament and give them a timescale of how long it will take until your new drive is built. It may be that you can use the normal Local Council "one hand does not know what the other is doing" to get a letter saying what you are doing is ok - at least for a short period. Of course it depends upon the extent of your protusion!! A few inches would probably be ok but more than a foot you are probably way out of order.

Other suggestions - Our friends have a similar problem but solved it by putting the caravan in front first and running the A frame down the side of the house. This enables the whole 'van to be on their land.

What about putting it on a site for a week whilst the work is done?

Finally - DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE FINANCIAL COST TO YOU IF YOU IGNORE THE LETTER AND THEN SOMEONE FALL BASE OVER APEX.

ANY PERSONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE YOU HAVE (VIA YOUR HOUSE INSURANCE FOR EXAMPLE) IS LIKELY TO BE REVOKED IN THE EVENT OF A CLAIM IF IT CAN BE SHOWN THAT YOU HAVE BROKEN THE LAW AND IGNORED SAID LETTER.

I think the best advice is don't prat about - just move it.
to be fair Clive, I hope I didn't give the impression of 'pratting about'; I just sought the advice of this learned group and, if you read on you'll soon see that I have both taken it and actioned it. Definitely not pratting about !! :)

cheers

John
 
Mar 14, 2005
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John - What a relief to see this thread where we have all had sensible input and helped a fellow caravanner out.

It is a shame we have people like your neighbour - we had one that tried to insist that our close was a "turning circle" and that therefore no-one could park in it!

I rang the Highways & Biways dept. who were most helpful and confirmed that as a public highways we could have anyone parking there!

God knows what he would say if we ever stuck our caravan on the drive?

Hope it all works out.
 
Aug 31, 2005
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Clive :

I somehow supsect that a bit of snobishness is present; we have people here who believe that teeenagers and caravans should not be part of their landscape. Ironcally we too have a turning circle about 20 metres up from my house (and the caravan). I do confess that I get a little miffed with people zooming down the close and then screetching round the turning circle.

Thanks again to al
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I have two teenagers John and I sometimes wish they were not on my landscape for sure.

We had a fridge sign that said "Teenagers leave home now whilst you still know everything"

Only joking! I would be lost when the computor goes down if they were not here. Then again if they weren't - I could by a better one!
 
Jan 21, 2014
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I have two teenagers John and I sometimes wish they were not on my landscape for sure.

We had a fridge sign that said "Teenagers leave home now whilst you still know everything"

Only joking! I would be lost when the computor goes down if they were not here. Then again if they weren't - I could by a better one!
Don't you believe it Clive - you still wouldn't be able to afford a new computer even then cos they're still on you ear hole at 25 and 27 with homes of their own. I KNOW!!
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I have two teenagers John and I sometimes wish they were not on my landscape for sure.

We had a fridge sign that said "Teenagers leave home now whilst you still know everything"

Only joking! I would be lost when the computor goes down if they were not here. Then again if they weren't - I could by a better one!
God what a depressing thought. When I was 21 I had a mortgage and ate tadpoles out of a jam jar we were so poor.

Now my kids walk round with more technology in their ear than went to the Moon, have stunning cars and just are not bothered about a mortgage!

I reckon when me and the wife die they will just put us out in the garden to wash away and carry on as before!
 
Apr 11, 2005
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Isnt it annoying when people speak for others instead of having the guts to own up that is is THEM with the problem ! Is this person a little old dear? or a mummy with a pram, surely these people would stick up for themselves ! Get your drive sorted and take great joy in annoying this miserable git by what means you can ! nice big windsock blowing from the roof !! but I feel by it just bieng there will be enough to irritate this sad loser.

Those who like to try and butt into your life generally dont have one of their own!
 
Aug 31, 2005
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Tina : Well yes, the sad part is that this man lives 100 metres up the road and is in no way inconvenienced; he can't even see my caravan except at a distance! There are no little old ladies and we don't have young mother's with prams. No he was simply being vindictive for reasons I cannot fathom. I mean, I have never met this man with our first communication being when he telephoned me to threaten "calling the biys in blue".....

John!
 
Aug 31, 2005
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Last night I re-arranged my caravan in the driveway. It's now at an angle and efefctively blocks access to the path to the house but HEY, the pavement's completely clear again.

I have some photos of the new position; anyone want to see them ?? If so, happy to send a copuple of photos that I took last night :) (now, don't all rush at once !!)
 
Aug 28, 2005
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i live in swansea south Wales ,and i never seen so many caravans parked in the road as here ,also the cars are parked on the entrance to the driveway so people have to walk in the road ,yet no one seems to bother them . joeboy
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Stephen

I think you might have another hick-up now.

Not sure how many of you have sold your house in the last couple of years, but if anyone has had cause to complain to the council over any dispute, this must divulged on the forms the solicitor gives you when selling.

No one is supplosed to block any public highway, even cars on pavements can be reported.

We were lucky we lived in a close of only 6 houses.
 

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