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Claim that people are ‘living on caravan sites’

 
Created on 17/01/2022 @ 12:53

 

By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

A Meifod county councillor is calling for the rule to be tightened to clamp down on council tax dodgers living full time in holiday caravan parks.

Cllr Jonathan Wilkinson (pictured) said that he is happy to open a “can of worms” if it means putting the squeeze stopping the practice by updating the outdated caravan licence conditions.

“I know it’s a can of worms and I’m not afraid to open it, my question is about residency in holiday parks. It’s a serious matter as there is a net loss to the authority as residents should be paying a council charge,” Cllr Wilkinson told the Council’s Planning, Taxi Licensing and Rights of Way committee.

“There should be strict regulation that you will not live on a holiday park, and we enforce it.”

Powys’ senior licensing officer, Sue Jones, told the committee that the conditions needed to be updated as they had not changed since the “1980s”.

“It’s a work I’ve wanted to do for a while as I considered they needed modernising and unifying,” said Ms Jones, who added that updated conditions had been finalised in March 2020 but they had been delayed for two years due to the pandemic.

“My problem is that I don’t have any powers, the occupancy period and type of site is a planning restriction. The whole Covid situation shone a light on this hidden population of people living on holiday sites.”

Ms Jones said that meetings had been held with council planning staff and those that deal with council tax to discuss what steps to take.

Referrals were made for people’s need to pay the council tax to be investigated. She added that on more recently built sites, “robust conditions” that dealt with this problem are in place, and transgression can be dealt with.

“What it requires is new legislation. There was a bill being proposed that put the onus on the holiday site owners,” she explained.

“They need to ensure that all caravan owners could prove they had a home residence and maintain those records regularly. Unfortunately, that bill never went through.”

Planning committee solicitor, Colin Edwards said: “Any complaints should be logged on the enforcement website.”

Councillors unanimously backed updating the conditions which will now go be subject to an eight-week consultation.

In Powys, there are just over 200 licensed holiday and touring sites that vary in size. They will now be contacted to give their views.

 

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