A Herefordshire rural business owner has lost his bid to keep a worker’s caravan on the company site after a two-year battle with planners.

Herefordshire Council issued an enforcement notice in January 2020 requiring the field manager’s caravan at New House Farm, Grafton, south of Hereford, to be permanently removed within seven months.

In June the same year, Patrick Gethling-Lewis, managing director of Gamber Logistics, which is based at the farm, applied for retrospective permission for the caravan (referred to in this case as a mobile home), but this was refused.

The company provides a range of rural services including farm cleaning, poultry litter trading, potato supply and haulage.

Mr Gethling-Lewis then appealed against both the enforcement and the refusal of planning permission. But a government-appointed planning inspector has now ruled against both.

Justina Moss ruled that the enforcement notice “did not correctly identify the area of land upon which the alleged use is taking place”, but allowed an amended version to stand.


The main issue with both the enforcement and permission refusal was whether a residential caravan was needed for the business, she said.

She agreed with West Mercia Police that the occupied caravan “is an excellent deterrent”, particularly as one of the farm buildings sells gun cartridges – but gave this “limited weight” in her decision.

Aside from this, there was no “sustained essential functional need” for the caravan, which meant it fell foul of the county plan’s policy on rural business dwellings, she said.

It also “makes only a small contribution to the supply of housing in Hereford, but not in a location that is encouraged” in national planning policy, she added.

The inspector also rejected Mr Gethling-Lewis’ bid to retain the caravan for non-residential use, and also his bid to extend the period in which to remove it.

However in a separate and even more protracted case, Mr Gethling-Lewis successfully appealed against the council’s refusal to grant permission for a laser clays shoot at the farm, and against its earlier enforcement notice intended to prevent this use.

The main reason given by the council in its refusal in November 2019 was the likely impact on traffic the attraction would cause.

The same planning inspector ruled that the shoot would not be “prejudicial to highway safety” – but that the business would have to abide by a travel plan, which would be kept under review.

She also required that the site not be used for other types of shooting, nor could outdoor lighting be installed.