All but the very smallest caravan sites must obtain a licence from the local authority and must comply with the conditions set out in the licence. There are also other licences that may be applicable, depending on the activities that you carry out on your site.
If you decide to sell alcohol - either from an on-site shop or a clubhouse - then you'll need to be appropriately licensed.
In England and Wales, the Licensing Act regulates the sale of alcohol, the provision of regulated entertainment and the supply of hot food between the hours of 11pm and 5am - 'late night refreshment'. A premises licence is required for any premises where these activities will take place (late night refreshment activities may in some cases be covered by an exemption), and a personal licence is required by anyone who wants to sell alcohol from premises which have a premises licence. (Changes to the legislation from 2015 mean that some premises may be exempted from the late night refreshment requirement at the discretion of individual local authorities.) The Gov.uk website contains more information about alcohol and entertainment licensing.
In Scotland, there is a system of personal and premises licences similar to that in England and Wales with alcohol licences granted by local Licensing Boards. You can read more about alcohol licensing in Scotland on the Scottish Government website.
In Northern Ireland, alcohol licences are granted by the county court. The alcohol licensing system in Northern Ireland is more stringent than elsewhere in the UK and licences are generally more difficult - and often much more costly - to obtain. You can read more about alcohol licensing in Northern Ireland on the NI Direct website.
The Money Laundering Regulations apply to 'high value dealers', including caravan sites, who accept the equivalent of 10,000 euros in cash for any transaction - for example on the sale of a new caravan. If you handle transactions of this size you must register with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and put in place anti-money laundering systems.
Other things to consider
In addition you should be aware of the following:
- if credit facilities are offered to customers - for example on the sale of a new caravan - you will need consumer credit authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
- if you arrange insurance cover for privately owned caravans on your site you need to be either directly authorised by the FCA or become an 'appointed representative' of a principal FCA authorised insurer
- if background music is provided in your shop (if you have one) or any other location you are likely to need a Music Licence from PPL PRS Ltd. You'll need an MPLC licence if you plan to screen films and TV shows
- if you use CCTV systems you may be required to register as a data user with the Information Commissioner's Office. From May 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation has introduced additional protection for personal data