Opening Up Your Glampsite – The Legal Bits

Posted on 27 April 2022

o, you’re ready to open up your very own glampsite – congratulations! We’re sure you’ve discovered by now just how complex the legalities of opening an accommodation 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 of the basics you’ll need before you open…

Site licence

First of all, 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 consecutive months. More information can be found on this here.

If your land will be used for caravans, including static caravans and motorhomes, then you’ll need to have planning permission for the caravan site before the licence can be given to you – the licence usually needs to be issued within two months.

If your site has mixed accommodation, including tent pitches, you’ll normally be licenced as a single site, with tents deemed to be touring units for the purposes of the conditions. To get a clearer idea of what conditions your licence will have, you can take a 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 needs to be applied for 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.

Handy information to have before submitting your application is details on the economic value of the campsite, 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 then 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 make their decision on whether to approve, refuse or defer the permission. For more information about the process as a whole, click here (England), here (Wales), or here (Scotland).

There are a few other factors that go into opening your site, but we hope this short guide has given you a good place to start and helped to make things a little clearer. We want to wish you good luck with your exciting new adventure!

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