How to Open a Glamping Site – The Legal Bits

Glamping site geodesic dome in field

"To determine the kind of permission you need, it's your local council that you need to speak to"

So, you’re on your way to opening up your glamping site – congratulations! We’re sure you’ve discovered by now just how complex the legalities of how to open a glamping site to the public can be – it’s a minefield of licences and permissions, a balancing act between government and local councils. We’re here to help guide you through the often-confusing legalities with some basics you’ll need before you open…

Glamping site licence

First, you’ll need to obtain a licence from your local authority if you either plan to use your land for tented camping (including trailer tents) or the land will be used for caravans. In the case of the former, the licence is required in England and Wales (not Scotland) if you’ll have tented camping for more than 42 consecutive days at a time or more than 60 days over 12 straight months. More information can be found on this here. Suppose your glamping site will be used for caravans, including static caravans and motorhomes. In that case, you’ll need planning permission for the caravan site before the licence can be given to you – the licence usually needs to be issued within two months.

Glamping site geodesic dome under construction
Glamping site geodesic dome under construction

If your glamping site has mixed accommodation, including tent pitches, you’ll generally be licenced as a single site. This is because tents are considered to be touring units for the purposes of the conditions. To get a clearer idea of what conditions your licence will have, you can look at the government’s ‘model standards’ for holiday static caravan sites here and touring caravan sites here.

Planning permission

In nearly all cases, planning permission must be applied if you plan to open a 56-day camping site. To determine the kind of permission you need, it’s your local council that you need to speak to – they’ll be able to tell you if the land already benefits from existing planning consent or if you need to start the process from scratch.

Before submitting your application, handy information is detailed on your glampsite’s economic value, both direct (i.e. to your business) and indirect (i.e. to the local economy). There will be a fee for planning permission, but they vary widely depending on existing permissions and plot size, so again your local council will be able to give you more information about this.

After your submission

The local authority will make your application public to the general public and ‘consultees’ such as the local parish council, wildlife trust, tourist boards and the Environment Agency. Officers will collect any comments from these people and decide whether to approve, refuse or defer the permission. For more information about how to get your glamping site permissions by area, click here (England), here (Wales), or here (Scotland). A few other factors go into opening your glamping site, but we hope this short guide has given you an excellent place to start and helped to make things a little clearer. If you’re almost ready to start building your glamping site, why not check out our dome builder here?

Whatever your stage, we wish you luck with your exciting new adventure!

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