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Living in a Static Caravan

Hi all
So pleased to have found this group. My family and friends look at me like I am slightly mad when I say I would love to live in a caravan, preferably in a field somewhere Smile Luckily my husband also loves the idea!

Just wondering really what barriers there are... for instance how difficult is it to set up on land, where do you start? We have considered going to France but this means hanging on a good few more years and ideally we'd like to do it within the next year or so.

Anyone with any experience or knowledge of where to start and what difficulties we are likely to face, be really pleased to hear from you - shall also trawl through all the topics to see what other information is about.

Thank you!

Tess Laughing

No idea but welcome and hello from Asturias... Very Happy

Welcome from me too. Very Happy
I think if you are going to make a living off the land it's easier to get permission to have a static on site.

Hello Tess!

We thought about it and a mate of ours has lived in hers (with 2 kids) for about 8 years, until she got planning on her own land to build something permanent.

We really toyed with the idea for a while. The advice our mate gave us was: buy as big a one as you can afford (the kids! you might have different criteria). She has really loved living in it. I think she'll be sad to move when it comes to it.

Because she's a farm too she has electric plumbed into it as a drop of the pole and town water I think from the village. She has central heating piped into it from a crazy rayburn adaptation and that and her washer and drier live in a big metal shed kit thing they built right next to the van. They've since built a veranda in the crook between the two with a roof over and she says that's great for wet coats and boots as well as eating outside when the weather's nice.

Her number one complaint is condensation.

Good luck, we decided not to go ahead for family related reasons but no-one on here will think you're *that* mad Smile
Rob R

I'd recommend reading the DIY Planning Handbook which is invaluable.

A few tips - keeping tidy, especially outside, is important - if it looks bad you're more likely to get opposition. Secondly, heating, make sure it is up to a harsh winter as -20 doesn't happen very often, but when it does it is very miserable indeed if you can't keep warm. As Tavascarow says, it is easier to get planning if you are making a living from the land, but the planning part of that equation is the easy bit, and planners generally want you to be working towards a permanent structure in that situation & may only grant planning for a limited time.
Rob R

The advice our mate gave us was: buy as big a one as you can afford (the kids! you might have different criteria). She has really loved living in it. I think she'll be sad to move when it comes to it.

Good advice - and think about the layout too. 12ft is like a palace compared to a 10ft wide van, much easier to get proper furniture (we have a super kingsize matress in ours!) in and make it feel like a proper home.

Her number one complaint is condensation.

Funnily enough that is one common problem we hear about but never have a problem with.

There's a programme on Channel 4/4od about small homes, if you haven't already seen it.

we pulled on to our present site 20 years ago here

the advantage of a static or caravan is that if the planners get on to you then there are options other than demolition.

a landbased occupation is good for your selves aswell as your local area and neighbours...i was a hedgelayer for 10 to know all the farmers..

keep on good terms with neighbours..council planners act on tip offs and complaints

keep a low profile..i have seen many people bulldoze their way onto the land with no regard for others parking,widening gateways,rubbish,loose animals..only to come a cropper pretty quick..

choose your site carefully..we parked on the southern edge of a woodland..discreet,shaded in summer,sunny in winter and plenty of canopy cover..

we started with a 26 x7 foot showman's..with another blim caravan later..a roof went over the whole lot and we carried on from there..slowly and steadily..creating the space,filling in the sides and podding out bit by bit

be lucky

Can I ask what you want to do?
Are you trying to be self sufficient.
are you trying to escape society.
Do you just have a romantic concept of life in a field.
Or do you have a grand plan Question

This was a good thread about caravan living. graysalchemy

I lived in one for three years on the West coast of Scotland. I was young and a bachelor but i did enjoy the experience even though it was very basic.

However who ever had sited the caravan had forgotten to think about the strong westerlies that came up the glen most nights in winter.

It was placed side on with a bank of large trees next to it. It used to lift in the wind and i always feared a tree falling on it. It got so much that one night I decided it was safer to sleep in the adjacent deer larder with the days stalking tally. Laughing Laughing

Living in a caravan in a field is great but even with planning permission for a house, permission to live there in a caravan is usually only temporary, as Rob R said. Our caravan permission needs to be renewed every 3 years, for example, and they could choose not to renew it. Council Tax is paid at Band A.

I think you get more out of it if you go the whole hog, be off-grid and as self-sufficient as possible rather than just replicating living in a house.

If you have a wood burning stove in the static, damp seems to be less of a problem.

Good luck with your decision. Very Happy

personally Id take note that your friends think you slightly mad.

Nothing in this world would induce me to live in a static in a field (personal opinion).

Saying this, im thinking Im a bit selfish, but then Im employed and can afford a reasonable standard of living.
Rob R

personally Id take note that your friends think you slightly mad.

Nothing in this world would induce me to live in a static in a field (personal opinion).

Saying this, im thinking Im a bit selfish, but then Im employed and can afford a reasonable standard of living.

I don't know what makes you think that living in a static gives you a lower standard of living? If anything it gives you a better standard as you can afford more luxuries.

maybe lorrainelovesloos ? Lorrainelovesplants

Lorraineloves central heating, space, oh too many things to mention. Laughing

I think the constriction of living and the noise of rain (lets face it we live in a 'challenging' climate) would put me right off.
Rob R

Fair enough, if you prefer bricks, but I don't think that's a standard of living issue. Most of the issues I have & would like to improve upon are constrained by the same (mainly financial) constraints I would have in a conventional home. You can insulate the roof, install central heating, and space is limited to 1200 square foot under planning, but 420 is enough room for us (we have three bedrooms but don't really use the other two, apart from guests & storage). gemini


Due to circumstances, I lived in a static caravan, in a field on my own, after my house was burnt down, I also met someone else who had to find a home, after there house was destroyed in the Hemel Hampstead petroleum, and the insurers wouldnt pay out, it is a nice idea but in some ways impractical, heating in the winter, mine had storage heaters, so never got warm it would just blow out, and then in the summer be so hot, also we got a load of mold, the cess pit used to overflow. It is a cheap way of living, because rates are low, but sometimes people look down on you for living in a static, the people I mentioned, had children, and their children were bullied and called gypo's. So as in most things in life, you have to weigh up the pros and cons, as we really didnt have a choice becuse of our circumstances, but if did have a choice, I would choose a residential site, there was a lovely one at Whipsnade, a really nice community, the statics were really nice. Gemini

I live in a park home, which is basically a static caravan with wooden walls. I live here because without a mortgage and with a minimal ground rent, my standard of living is way above what I would have been able to achieve after my divorce and subsequent re marriage.Plus I live in a beautiful unique area which I definitly couldn't have affordedhad I wanted a house! I slightly resent the implication that those of us who choose not to live in bricks and mortar are somehow not achieving a good standard of living.
Re condensation...its always good to have a good extractor fan or hood in the kitchen, or at the very least open windows as much as possible...we do have a damp problem in the back bedroom but that is mostly because we are very shaded by vegetation at the back.We invested in a good dehumidifier which takes care of it (when we remember to run it!). Running the multifuel burner in the winter helps a lot!!
Storage is a problem but we now rent a garage from the council (a good tip from bloke off the telly!) for 40 odd quid a month, which has taken all the stuff from 2 divorces and my parents home clearance... Very Happy Very Happy
Rob R

The thing I note is that problems people have while living in a mobile home become reasons against living that way, even if they are not exclusively a problem of caravans in a way that they don't with b&m. cassy

I don't think anyone would pretend that living in a caravan is not without it's problems. It's not for everybody and it's going to depend on what you're trying to get out of it.

Some things you get used to - small spaces, moving walls in high wind, lack of noise insulation, tiny bathroom.

Some things you can do something about (money permitting) - impractical fitted furniture (rip it out and use your own furniture), lack of kitchen workspace (set up dining area to be useful space and be organised), lack of insulation (add more), lack of decent cooking facilities (install better cooker) and lack of good heating (wood burning stove) and drying facilities (add veranda).

Some of the problems become positives - you cull your stuff and only store what you need or store it outwith the caravan, small is easy to clean, small and insulated is easy to heat, small spaces make you better organised. If you're building a house, the other advantage is that anything you build is going to feel massive and you can probably downsize your plans as you've learned to live with less!

The things that still bug me which are specific to living in a caravan (summer overheating, winter pipe freezing), I've learned to deal with and they are more than compensated for by being able to live where we do and get on with smallholding, without a mortgage.

Each to their own. Very Happy
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