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Posted 30 November 2012

Can you be prosecuted for mistakes by Local Authority?

In the recent case of White v South Derbyshire District Council, the Local Authority had unlawfully issued a site licence to a landowner for use of his land as a caravan site despite there being no relevant planning permission at the time.

The Local Authority later argued the licence was invalid and tried to prosecute the landowner for allowing the land to be used a caravan site without a valid licence!The judge at first instance decided that the site licence granted was invalid and that the park owner was therefore in breach by running a caravan park on the land. However, on appeal, this decision was overturned and it was held that a local authority could not rely on actions taken beyond its lawful powers (e.g. issuing a site licence when there is no relevant planning permission) to prosecute a landowner. It was also noted that although the Local Authority had no power to grant the licence, it was not invalid on the face of it.

If you have issues regarding your site licence or planning permission and want advice please contact the parks team on 01392 207020 or email


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