Campsite Planning Permission: A Quick Beginner’s Guide

Are you looking to find out if your planning campsite or caravan park will need planning permission?
We highly recommend you get the official advice first.

Smallholdings for Sale have built this online campsite planning advice generator. ✅

[NOTE: *Our campsite planning permission advice generator is based on facts from .gov and exemption club website sources. Updated as of 8th July 2023.]
Get INSTANT Campsite Planning Advice – Use This Planning Advice Generator!
How Many Acres Of Land Will Your Campsite Occupy?

Get INSTANT Campsite Planning Adivce — Use This Advice Generator Now!

Basics on campsite planning permission for any smallholder

Campsite planning is a technically challenging endeavour.

We therefore recommend you get expert help.

Professional Planning Help

A planning consultant will grant you sound technical knowledge of the field, plus cost and time saving advice on application.

Experts, such as Timber Intent Architecture, will  take you through your campsite planning paces, recommending how best to approach this hurdle.

Campsite Planning Permission & Decision Making

Success is dependent on your local planning authority. The decision is theirs.

Yet their agenda is fairly transparent and really devolved legally from governmental framework, namely, the National Planning Policy Framework.

Are you thinking about applying for campsite planing permission?

We hope this article gives you a good handle on the fundamentals behind key influential issues behind decision making on campsite planning in the UK.

UK Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

This is the UK Government’s policy framework for planning rural and urban development.

The document is an in-depth strategic framework detailing the Government’s steer on land development plans for the country.

It forms a single knowledge-base for the overarching policy leading local authorities in their duties as gatekeepers for local planning decisions.

Campsite Planning Permission & Sustainable Development

The root principal behind the NPPF is a phrase called, sustainable development.

The goal of the NPPF therefore is…

‘…growing our natural and built up environment in a way which increases value and improves standards for now and also for future generations.’

…a Smallholdings For Sale Definition

The 3 dimensions of sustainable development are:

  • Economic – financially sustainable growth.
  • Social – socially sustainable growth.
  • Environmental – environmentally sustainable growth.

These three areas, if satisfied by development proposals, should grant the proposed plans favour in the sight of the LPA (…here’s a big hint!).

The key deliverables of sustainable development are defined as such in the NPPF document:

  1. Building a strong, competitive economy 
  2. Ensuring the vitality of town centres
  3. Supporting a prosperous rural economy
  4. Promoting sustainable transport
  5. Supporting high quality communications infrastructure 
  6. Delivering a wide choice of high quality homes 
  7. Requiring good design 
  8. Promoting healthy communities
  9. Protecting Green Belt land 
  10. Meeting the challenge of climate change, flooding and coastal change
  11. Conserving and enhancing the natural environment
  12. Conserving and enhancing the historic environment 
  13. Facilitating the sustainable use of mineral

…as quoted from the National Planning Policy Framework

Planning Permission & Diversification

A key influencer in gaining the sympathy of your local planning team is diversification.

The NPPF heavily promotes the diversification or multiple/mixed usage of rural lands and properties.

Therefore, reason has it that if your development plans involve the diversification of existing use off rural land, you might receive the assent of local planners.

i.e. if your campsite development plans were proposing to multiply the use of rural land, which already accommodates other industrial or business activity, then your plans probably have greater chance of success.

…a Smallholdings For Sale aside!

Quick Tip On Campground Planning…

Want to score another point to help you pitch a persuasive argument to your local planning team for your proposed campsite?

Get creative and think of ways in which your plan might encourage retention and development of existing local services and facilities in neighbouring towns.

Think collaboration. Think cohesion.

Professional Advice For Submitting A Successful Campsite Planning Permission Application

In our interview with Inspired Glamping, planning expert Roger Brisley from Timber Intent provides the following advice for submitting successful campsite planning applications:

Excerpts from the interview, courtesy of…

…avoid greenbelt, national parks AONB, Heritage sites etc…

…check out your local Neighborhood Plan for local directives…

farm and agricultural property is good…

…good access is key, Highways (Agency) can block an application dead…

…(with Grade II listed property) permission will help to fund any future upkeep and building work…

…an operational farm…

…an old garden centre or greenhouses with land…

…(good competitive analysis) planners do not like gluts of things and will be aware of what is available locally…

…exceprts from an interview posted on

Campsite Licence Exemption In The UK

In order to run a campsite in the UK, you need a licence to operate, that is, unless you fulfil exemption criteria.

The following is the exemption criteria for campsite licences here in the UK:

  • forestry workers, builders, travelling showmen or seasonal workers (like fruit pickers) stay in tents on the site
  • the site is 5 or more acres and there are 3 or less tents there for 28 days or less a year
  • you’re a member of an organisation like the Scouts and have an exemption certificate
  • your site is approved by an organisation with a camping exemption certificate
  • members of an exempted organisation stay in their tents on the site

…quoted from the Camping Licence page on the .GOV.UK website

“How Do I Apply For A Campsite Licence?”

Get a form from your local council.

Fill it in along with associated supporting documentation like plans of boundaries etc.

You may be charged a fee to apply.

If you do not receive a response from your council within 1 month of filing your submission, you may go ahead with your campsite plans (this is considered implied consent).

“What Happens If I Break The Terms Of My Campsite Licence Or Refuse To Get One?”

You may be fined or have your licence revoked.

Top 5 Take-Home Points For Successfully Submitting A Campsite Planning Permission Application

See below a quick summary of useful points to take away with you from this beginner’s guide to campsite planning

  1. This document (published by the Planning Portal) will give you the necessary insight into understanding the parameters surrounding permitted development.
    • …it’s a leveller for anyone seeking to embark on getting permission for such a project.
  2. Consider the Government’s stance on planning permission and get abreast of its priorities.
  3. Get familiar with your local council’s plan for development.
  4. Speak with a professional planning consultant.
  5. Make provision in your plan for campsite licence application, or aim for exemption.

Add Genuine Value To Your Local Community & Environment With Your Planned Campsite Business

In addition to the points above, think first about what you can give (add in value) rather than what you want to get out of it and your campsite plans will fare much better.

The UK rural communities & environment offers a wealth of opportunity and experience to all.

It ought to be maintained responsibly with future generations in mind.

Your plans for a campsite business could provide valuable assistance in the mission of sustainable development of the UK countryside.

Think big and give big.

Consider how you might multiply the real benefits and gains from such a project and involve other stakeholders.

Bringing people together to help each other is both noble and needed.

If everybody did a little, we believe it will make a lot of good to share all round.

Any comments to share on campsite planning, or sustainable development?

Post your thoughts below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Publish & Promote A Smallholding Listing.
Selling a smallholding? Reach qualified buyers today via our marketplace. Free to list.