Caravan site licences and houseboats

Apply for a caravan site licence

The Caravan and Control of Development Act 1960 requires that you have a site licence granted by the council to use land as a caravan park. To apply, please contact the private sector housing team for a site licence application form.

Your application must include a proposed site plan at a 1:500 scale showing the layout of roads, caravans and facilities.

A licence cannot be issued without planning permission, so before you apply for a licence you will need to contact the planning department to enquire about planning permission. For more information please see:

Licence conditions

If you are granted a licence it will include certain conditions regarding:

  • which type of caravan can use the site, eg residential, holiday static or holiday touring
  • how many caravans can be on site, and the required spacing between them
  • water supply and drainage, toilet and washing facilities
  • fire precautions and electrical installations

If you are already a caravan site occupier and have a site licence please ensure your name, the site name and address are all correct, and that the licence corresponds with your planning permission. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Transferring a licence

Existing site licences are transferable to new occupiers, but we need to approve the transfer. If you are a new site occupier you need to complete an application form with a letter requesting a transfer.


There are some instances where a caravan site licence is not required, including:

  • a caravan sited with the curtilage of a dwelling and its use is incidental to the dwelling, this means it cannot be occupied separately
  • a single caravan sited for not more than two consecutive nights for a maximum of 28 days in any 12 months
  • up to three caravans on a site of not less than five acres for a maximum of 28 days in any 12 months
  • sites occupied by exempted organisations such as the Caravan and Motorhome Club
  • sites of up to five caravans certified by an exempt organisation and which are for members only
  • sites occupied by the local authority
  • sites for temporary and special purposes, such as caravan rallies, agricultural and forestry workers, building and engineering sites and travelling salesmen
  • a site for tents only can be used for a maximum of 28 days in any 12 months

If you are not sure whether one of these exemptions applies to you, please contact us to check.

Licence fees

The Mobile Homes Act 2013 allows the councils to charge fees for 'relevant protected sites'. This is any land to be used as a caravan site, other than one where a licence is:

  • granted for holiday use only
  • in any way subject to conditions which restrict the use of the site for the stationing of caravans for human habitation at certain times of the year, such as planning conditions

Relevant protected sites are typically: residential parks; mobile home parks; Gypsy, Roma and Traveller sites; etc.

As a local authority we can charge:

  • a licence fee for applications to grant or transfer a licence, or an application to alter the conditions of a licence
  • an annual licence fee for administering and monitoring licences
  • a one-off fee for depositing revised park site rules

For more information about our fees please see:

Caravan park site rules

The Mobile Homes Act 2013 requires the council to oversee and validate caravan park site rules and maintain a public register of all site rules that have been deposited. The register can be found below:

Register of fit and proper persons

The Mobile Homes (Requirement for Manager of Site to be Fit and Proper Person) (England) Regulations 2020 states that the site owner must be a fit and proper person to lawfully operate a park home site, or have a fit and proper site manager in place.

The councils are required to keep a register of fit and proper persons, which can be viewed below, or at the council offices at Worthing Town Hall during office hours.

Entries on the register can be viewed below:

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There are many privately owned houseboats on the River Adur. The houseboat moorings at Shoreham-by-Sea are privately owned and can only be purchased through a private sale.

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) does not apply to houseboats, nor indeed any of the normal housing standards legislation. However, in the case of tenanted houseboats we will investigate whether conditions are prejudicial to the health of the occupants, ie are the premises a statutory nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

See also:

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Page last updated: 07 June 2024

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