Licensing system for mobile home sites with permanent residents: guidance for local authorities

Guidance for local authority officers in Scotland who are involved with permanent mobile home site licensing.

Chapter 4 - Fees

4.1. Under the new licensing system a local authority is able to charge a fee for handling a first site licence application, and for a licence renewal. It cannot charge a fee for handling a site licence transfer application, or for transmission of a site licence.

4.2. Under section 32C(2) of the 1960 Act [28] the fee "must not exceed an amount which it considers represents the reasonable costs of an authority in deciding a relevant permanent site application". The fee set should therefore reflect what the local authority believes will be the reasonable cost of handling a first site licence application, and the average cost to it of handling a site licence renewal application.

4.3. A local authority can charge a different fee for a first site licence application and for a renewal. A local authority can also choose to charge different fee levels for different sizes of sites ( e.g. a local authority could charge a lower fee for a site with fewer mobile homes).

4.4. It is important to note that the fee charged cannot be used to cover the cost of enforcement action. The 2014 Act puts in place a separate procedure for recovering the costs of enforcement action, discussed further in section 6.

4.5. The matters that a local authority is to take into account when fixing a fee for a relevant permanent site application are set out in the 2016 Regulations. The expenses that the authority can take into account are those that it reasonably expects to incur in relation to—

(a) receiving, logging and storing an application and any further information given to the authority;

(b) checking an application;

(c) requesting further information and checking that information once received;

(d) arranging any appointments and attending any meetings, required in relation to an application;

(e) checking that an applicant is entitled to the benefit of planning permission for the use of the land as a relevant permanent site otherwise than by a development order;

(f) satisfying itself that the persons mentioned in paragraphs (1) (b) or (2) (b) of section 32D to the Act are fit and proper persons;

(g) carrying out any risk assessment of the site that the authority considers necessary;

(h) carrying out one inspection of a site, including the cost of travelling to and from a site;

(i) drafting, revising and finalising a licence;

(j) deciding whether to issue or refuse a licence and informing an applicant of a decision;

(k) considering any representations made by the applicant, following the local authority informing the applicant that it considering refusing an application in accordance with section 32D(4)(b) of the Act; and

(l) the cost of obtaining expert advice (including legal advice).

4.6. The basis on which a local authority has calculated the fees it charges in the licensing system should be made available on request, and authorities should be open and transparent about the factors they have taken into account and how they have calculated the fees charged.

4.7. In preparing the proposals for the new licensing system the Scottish Government carried out research and discussions to establish the potential level of fees. Based on the research and the interviews undertaken, we estimated that the fee associated with granting the licence to the residential mobile home parks would be approximately £600. The table below sets out how that cost was calculated, and may be helpful to local authorities as their set their fees.

Tasks Indicative Time (days Full Time Equivalent) Indicative Salary (including National Insurance and other contributions) Cost per day Cost Total Cost
Statutory minimum application criteria
Receiving, logging, and storing information relating to the application 0.5 £35,000 £95.89 £47.95 £109.59
Checking and authorising 0.5 £45,000 £123.29 £61.64  
Fit and Proper Person Test
Compiling information, reviewing records 1 £45,000 £123.29 £123.29 £123.29
Visiting site
Transport costs (distance) N/A     £80.00 £381.37
Visit x 2 officials 2 £35,000 £95.89 £191.78  
Reporting 0.5 £35,000 £95.89 £47.95  
Informing site owner 0.5 £45,000 £123.29 £61.64  
TOTAL COST £614.25        
Statutory minimum application criteria £109.59        
Fit and Proper Person Test £123.29        
Visiting site £381.37        

4.8. Costs will vary from local authority to local authority, and will depend on a range of factors. As one example a local authority could decide that a licence renewal does not require a site visit to take place, in which case the cost of a site visit would not be included in the renewal fee. It is important that local authorities set the fees for first site licence applications and renewals separately, and do not charge the same fee for both if a different level of work is required.


Email: Ged Millar

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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