'Direct action' planned to remove eyesore caravan

dumped caravan at Heacham

The wooden caravan which has been abandoned at the roadside at North Beach in Heacham - Credit: Chris Bishop

Taxpayers look set to foot the bill to remove an abandoned caravan.

The wooden mobile home has been dumped alongside Heacham North Beach for "a long period of time", according to council planning officers.

Now they are requesting the go-ahead for "direct action" to remove the eyesore.

Heacham dumped caravan

Officers are seeking the go-ahead for 'direct action' to remove the eyesore at Heacham North Beach - Credit: Chris Bishop

A report to West Norfolk council's planning committee says the vehicle's owner has committed "the material change of use for the land from countryside to a mixed use of countryside and use for the siting of a residential caravan and tent and associated paraphernalia".

It adds: "It is apparent that a caravan has been in place on the Land for a long period of time and that this is considered by the local planning authority to constitute a use of land that requires planning permission, that has neither been applied for or granted in this instance."

Officers left an enforcement notice at the site in April, 2019. It said the caravan had been left in "an unduly prominent position harming the character and appearance of the countryside" No appeal was made, so it came into effect two months later.

The report says a person "purporting to be the owner of the land" contacted the council and was given "guidance and information", which was ignored.

Heacham dumped caravan

Officials say the caravan has been abandoned at Heacham in "an unduly prominent position harming the character and appearance of the countryside" - Credit: Chris Bishop

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It recommends councillors agree to officers entering the land to remove the caravan and "associated paraphernalia", before attempting to recover the costs from the owner.   

The report says the council has received a quote of £930 plus VAT for removing the vehicle, along with £10 a day for storage.

It says the council must store the caravan for three days to give the owner the opportunity to reclaim any possessions.

Heacham dumped caravan

A faded message scrawled on the side of the abandoned caravan at Heacham reads; "Free to a good home." - Credit: Chris Bishop

The report adds the council could attempt to recover its costs by placing a charge on the land, but it is not clear who owns it, so it does not expect the debt to be recovered.

Today North Beach was almost deserted apart from the occasional walker. No-one was in at the caravan, but there were signs it had recently been visited.

A faded message scrawled on one side said: "Free to a good home." 

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