Swale council takes legal action to remove 31 unauthorised caravans from site in Hartlip

The site is located on Spade Lane
The site is located on Spade Lane -Credit:Google maps/ Street view

Swale Borough Council are taking legal action to remove 31 unauthorised caravans from a site in Hartlip. The move will also aim to stop more being brought onto the New Acres site on Spade Lane.

The site currently has temporary planning permission for eight plots with space for 16 caravans. This permission was granted by the planning inspector on appeal in 2022 and expires in June 2025.

But the council has now issued an enforcement notice for the breach of planning permission on April 16. This means the owners have six months to remove the additional caravans, and failure to comply is a criminal offence which would lead to prosecution.

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A stop notice was issued at the same time, which makes it a criminal offence for any further caravans to be brought onto the site. The council said evidence gathered by its officers found 24 static caravans and 23 touring caravans spread across the plots, with the number increasing up until the service of the enforcement notices.

Cllr Mike Baldock, chair of the planning committee, said: “We all have to abide by the rules of the planning system and given the scale of the unauthorised development taking place at the site we have been left with no choice but to take legal action. We've received numerous complaints from residents about unauthorised development at the site, and despite council officers trying to work with the site owner, the situation has got worse.

“We’ll be monitoring the site to make sure they are complying with the notices, and if not, we will take whatever legal action is necessary.”

Swale Borough Council previously issued a temporary stop notice on the site in 2023. This gave the site owners the opportunity to apply for retrospective planning permission for the unauthorised developments while preventing any further development in the interim.

The council said the site owners’ application did not contain the level of information needed for it to be considered. Despite numerous attempts to reach the applicant’s planning agent, the further information that was required was never received, the council said.

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