Planning guidance for temporary campsites


We've recently updated this webpage to provide you with the most relevant and timely information. Your feedback is crucial to us.

Please take a moment to give your feedback. At the bottom of his page, you'll find a face that matches your experience. Click on it and then fill out the short feedback form. Thank you.

This guidance is about temporary pop up campsites and is for:

  • landowners who may wish to take advantage of Permitted Development Rights and run temporary campsites
  • residents concerned about potential sites.

You can find the law on temporary use in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development)(England) Order 2015

Temporary pop up campsites

The regulations for pop-up campsites have changed

The regulations for temporary recreational campsites or ‘pop up’ camping sites have changed.  This is because of new permitted development rights that came into force on 26 July 2023.

Land can still be used for up to 28 days per calendar year as a campsite with unlimited number of tents only without formal planning permission. This right applies until 25 July 2024.

The new rights also allows land to be used for up to 60 days in any calendar year as a campsite (tents and campervans/motorhomes only).  You need to notify us in writing first for this usage.

The legislation does NOT permit the temporary use to take place:

  • on a site of a scheduled monument
  • in a safety hazard area
  • in a military explosives storage area
  • on a site of special scientific interest
  • on a site of a listed building.

Please note in some locations there is an Article 4 Direction to remove permitted development rights for campsites.  You can see more information below.

No more than 50 pitches are allowed on the land.

The developer must make on-site provision for users of the campsite for toilet and waste disposal facilities.

The developer must notify us in writing before starting development in each calendar year.  You must provide a copy of the site plan which includes details of:

  • toilet and waste disposal facilities
  • the dates on which the site will be in use.

You may also need a site licence.  If your site is within flood zones 2 and 3, you will need to submit an application for prior approval each calendar year and receive confirmation of approval before using the land. This can take up to 56 days. You can find out if your sites lies within a flood zone on: Cornwall mapping.

Permitted development rights come from a general planning permission granted by Government rather than local councils. These rights mean that certain types of work can be carried out without needing to apply for formal planning permission.

Facilities and structures for temporary campsites

Permitted development rights do not allow any permanent works or operations. Necessary temporary facilities such as toilets will be needed. Each day the facilities are on your land will count towards the 28 or 60 day limit even if the site is unoccupied.

Operators should ensure that their site follows all relevant laws.

Removal of Permitted Development Rights

Cornwall Council has removed the permitted development rights in some areas of Cornwall. These are called Article 4 Directions. They may remove the right to temporary campsites.  Rights are removed to protect the most sensitive Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We only use Article 4 Directions where there is an exceptional reason to do so.

You can check whether an area has an Article 4 Direction using our interactive mapping service:

View Article 4 Directions using our interactive mapping service

The map will show shaded areas with an Article 4 Direction with a purple outline. Use the zoom feature to find the area you are interested in. Clicking or tapping anywhere inside the purple-shaded area will display further details. You can click or tap the link that is shown to read the information about the Direction. 

Any land or property within the area of an Article 4 Direction does not have any permitted development rights. Landowners who wish to operate must apply for planning permission from the Council. 

Glamping

There are many possible structures for a glamping site. It is easy to get confused about what needs planning permission and what doesn’t.  

Whether you need planning permission is usually dependent on whether the structure is temporary. Glamping structures that can’t be moved are likely to need permission. This includes glamping pods, shepherd huts, geo-domes and luxury lodges. 

If you want further guidance, you can either:

Caravans

Caravans are subject to different rules.

You can only site a caravan under permitted development rights if an exception applies. You can find about about the law by reading Schedule 1 of the Caravan Site and Control of Development Act 1960.  You will need planning permission to use your land for caravans for camping in most cases.

Report an alleged breach of permitted development or an Article 4 Direction

If you think that a site may be operating outside of the 28 or 60 day limit or is within an Article 4 Direction area, you can tell us and we will investigate.

When you make a report, you will need to give us:

  • Details of the dates that tents, caravans, motorhomes or other temporary structures were moved onto or off the land
  • The dates that you believe the site was or is in use
  • Where it is safe to do so, take photographs of the site.  You should check that your camera or phone can record the date that the photo was taken. 

Operating a temporary site in breach of planning control is unlawful.  It risks formal enforcement action.  We cannot act only on the basis that the site does not have planning permission.  For action to be considered:

  • the development must be harmful in planning terms
  • planning permission would not have been granted if it had been applied for.  This may be because it is contrary to policy or an Article 4 Direction.

We will investigate a breach where we have evidence.  A decision to take enforcement action will be made:

  • on its own individual merits and
  • have regard to all material considerations.

Dangerous access

The permitted development rights do not include any requirements for highway safety.  We can only act if:

  • there is a continued breach of planning control
  • the access issue is harmful in planning terms.

Report an alleged breach of planning control

We will only act if it is expedient to do so.  

Litter and pollution from a temporary campsite

This is not a planning matter.  We can only act if:

  • the site is operating in breach of planning control and
  • it was expedient to do so.

The Community and Environmental Protection team deal with littering issues. You can visit their dedicated webpage to report a litter issue.

Need help?

Most issues can be resolved online, it's the quickest and most convenient way to get help.

Your feedback is important to us

Help us improve our service