Rural tourism – planning permission

Over the last few years we have seen a marked rise in rural tourism projects. Just some of the projects we have worked on include:

  • Planning permission for a caravan park in Cornwall;
  • Planning permission for holiday homes in Cheltenham, Cotswolds, Devon, Somerset and Sussex;
  • Planning permission for glamping site in West Sussex;
  • Planning assessment for yurt site in West Sussex.

The concept of rural tourism is generally supported by national and local planning policy. The National Planning Policy Framework aims to:

“support sustainable rural tourism and leisure developments that benefit businesses in rural areas, communities and visitors, and which respect the character of the countryside. This should include supporting the provision and expansion of tourist and visitor facilities in appropriate locations where identified needs are not met by existing facilities in rural service centres”

If problems arise they are generally related to transport and access. If the scheme is solely dependent on private motor vehicles for access some Councils may try to argue that the scheme is not ‘sustainable’. Equally, highway safety can often be a concern, especially for caravan parks. We generally suggest a ‘temporary permission’ where concerns are raised so that any impact can be judged by the Local Planning Authority.

Some other useful tips are:

  1. Tents and yurts are generally not classed as ‘buildings’. Therefore, you are actually seeking permission for the ‘use’ not the tents themselves;
  2. Caravan sites have various permitted development rights available under Part 5 Class A of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995;
  3. The more sustainable and temporary the proposal the better. Leave no trace!

If you are considering a rural tourism venture feel free to contact our planning team via