The Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, Kelly Tolhurst MP, has written to site owners and managers to explain how caravan sites should be operated over winter. In light of the new regional restrictions, the government has outlined the circumstances under which caravan sites can operate.
Caravan sites, in Tier 1 and 2 areas will be able to open as usual. Caravan sites located in Tier 3 areas will generally be expected to close (except between 22 and 28 December). As was the case during the period of national restrictions, there are a number of exemptions that allow caravan sites to remain open.
For example, caravan sites should remain open for households using the accommodation as their main residence. For holiday caravan sites where this exemption is relevant, the government does not expect those households to be evicted on the basis of being in a Tier 3 area.
Some caravan sites would usually be closing at this time of year for reasons unrelated to the current pandemic, for example because their planning conditions require them to do so. While the law remains unchanged on this issue, the government is encouraging site owners and managers to work with colleagues in their respective local authorities with regard to whether a site is closed.
The government is particularly keen to ensure that wherever possible families and vulnerable people are not displaced at this time. Additionally, the government expects local planning authorities to act proportionately in responding to suspected breaches of planning control, while having regard to their legal obligations.
In Tier 3 areas accommodation such as hotels may remain open for a limited number of reasons – as set out in The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020 – including for people who are unable to return to their main residence, and so may be able to accommodate households that have had to leave caravan park sites. The regulations also make clear that individuals in Tier 3 areas can move in with family and friends to escape a risk of harm (for example, where they have to leave their caravan due to a risk of flooding). Individuals should consider whether this is appropriate based on their specific circumstances.
More information and full guidance can be found here.