A MAN living in a static caravan in south Shropshire has been ordered off his land after a planning appeal was thrown out.

Government inspectors upheld a decision by Shropshire Council last year which ruled Alexander Johnson had breached planning regulations by moving two static caravans onto a field he owned near Ratlinghope – which he then began using as a residence.

The council claimed that by moving into a caravan on the site without planning permission, Mr Johnson had changed the use of the land from agricultural to “a mixed use of agricultural and use as a caravan site for residential use”.

An enforcement notice issued in March ordered him to move off the site, and arrange for removal of the two static caravans along with a third touring caravan being stored on the site. Shropshire Council also demanded the removal of three ‘lorry-back’ storage containers which they said were being used as residential storage.

In his appeal documentation, Mr Johnson admitted he had been living at the site since 2019 after being made homeless, but claimed had intended to move off the land as soon as suitable accommodation could be found, adding that he had “no intention” of changing the material land use.

He had appealed on the grounds that the site was not being used for residential purposes, but after a site visit planning inspector S A Hanson ruled that was not the case, pointing out that Mr Johnson acknowledges he lives in one of the caravans and had not disputed that agricultural land had been used for residential purposes.

A further appeal on the grounds that the change of use had occurred more than ten years ago and was therefore immune from enforcement was also dismissed by the inspector, who said that “on the balance of probabilities” the change of use occurred in either 2019 or 2020.

However the inspector agreed that the council’s requirement to remove the three storage containers, which had been brought onto use by a previous landowner and used for agricultural purposes at the time, was excessive.

After the enforcement decision was upheld, the appellant was given three months to find alternative accommodation and six months to move the static caravans off the site.

Shropshire Council has been contacted for comment.