Retrospective application submitted for a rural tourism venture in Sussex

Shepherd's hut rural glamping site

The Plainview team have just submitted a retrospective application to secure planning approval for a new rural tourism site in East Sussex. We have worked on a variety of rural development schemes across England and this particular project is for a boutique glamping experience, comprising of a shepherd’s hut and stunning Danish outdoor bath in a woodland setting.

The site context and history:

Our client had set up a niche rural retreat in the grounds of their residential property, which sits in an idyllic location close to a secluded wood.

Despite the success of the small leisure business with its rustic location being one of the main draws, in planning terms the site is complex as it is situated outside of the settlement boundary, within the AONB and designated as part of a Historic Park.

Our client soon found themselves subject to a planning enforcement investigation which sought to regularise the use of the site. It was at this point that we were approached to assist.

A note on planning enforcement:

If you find yourself subject to a planning enforcement action, then it is vital that you do not ignore it. Once an enforcement notice takes effect, your options become severely limited. It is useful to remember that enforcement action is discretionary and, in our experience, early intervention and negotiation is preferable to taking the case to appeal. There are a range of enforcement powers available to Local Authorities and your planning strategy will depend on the actions already taken by the council.

In this case, we engaged positively with the enforcement team and negotiated a way forward. As a result, we have submitted a retrospective planning application, seeking to regularise the planning position in regards to the rural woodland retreat and the associated works.

Making the case for rural tourism and glamping ventures:

As ever with planning, there isn’t a one size fits all approach and rural tourism sites are no exception. Whilst there is on paper support from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government, it is useful to note that as well as national policy, each Local Planning Authority will have their own policies to control rural developments. Furthermore, the specifics of each site and its history will also need to be considered.

To respond to the needs of this particular case, our planning submission included:

+ evidence to show the popularity of the site as a tourism venture and how it responds to a demonstrable need for this type of accommodation;
+ evidence to identify the useful contribution the scheme makes to the area in terms of diversifying the rural tourism offer, helping the local economy and supporting other attractions nearby;
+ how the scheme responds to local planning policies;
+ analysis of how and why the scheme has no impact on the ecology of the site and neighbouring amenity; and
+ analysis of how the site integrates successfully within its woodland and agricultural setting.

We look forward to continuing to work positively with the LPA, in seeking to reach a positive planning outcome for this innovative and sustainable local enterprise which offers a memorable and niche rural tourism experience.

About us

Over the years the Plainview Planning team have worked on many tourism schemes, from rural camping and glamping sites to inner London hotels. If you are looking to develop your site into a leisure / tourism attraction, get in touch today at and we would be delighted to help.