Temporary pop up camping sites - planning guidance

Cornwall Council, Town and Parish, and the Police and Crime Commissioner elections information and results.


This guidance is about temporary pop up camping sites and is for:

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

The Government's planning permission for temporary uses are:

Central Government grants these 56 day temporary uses through legislation.  Cornwall Council does not have to permit it separately.

Temporary pop up camping sites

56 day limit - uses and times

You cannot operate different temporary uses each for 56 days such as 56 days use for camping and 56 days for car parking.  The 56 days limit is the total allowed for all temporary uses cumulatively.  Some uses are limited further such as trials of speed.  

You cannot have 56 days of camping in one field and then another 56 in another.  The limit applies to the whole land holding, not only the field or parcel.

Every day that tents are on the land counts towards the 56 days even if they are not occupied.  This means that you cannot put up tents at Easter and leave them up until the end of August.  

You cannot have a temporary site in your garden.

There is no limit on the number of campers on a temporary site under these permitted development rights.

Facilities and works for temporary uses

These permitted development rights for temporary uses do not allow permanent works or operations.

Facilities such as temporary toilets may be needed for the temporary use.  But every day the facilities are on your land will count towards the 56 day limit - even if the site is unoccupied.

The permitted development rights do not include any rule to provide facilities.  Operators should ensure that sites follow all relevant other legislation.

Where Permitted Development Rights may be removed

Cornwall Council has Article 4 Directions which remove the camping permitted development rights.  They are in some of its most sensitive Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Article 4 Directions should only be used where there is an exceptional justification for doing so.

You can check whether an area has an Article 4 Direction using this link: Article 4 mapping

If an Article 4 applies, you will no longer have the permitted development rights to operate a temporary campsite for 56 days.  You will need to submit an application for planning permission to Cornwall Council.

Glamping

There are a range of glamping units on the market.  Their legal position varies and can be:

  • uses of land
  • buildings
  • caravans.

Some may be permitted development but other may need an application.  This depends on specification and circumstances.

You may wish for a formal decision from the Local Planning Authority.  You could make a lawful development certificate application to find out if you need permission.  You can also find out more about what permission you might need using this link: Do I need planning permission or building control

Caravans and motorhomes

Caravans and motorhomes are subject to different rules.  Motorhomes are caravans.  You can only site a caravan under permitted development rights if an exception applies: Schedule 1 of the Caravan Site and Control of Development Act 1960.  You will need planning permission to use land for caravans for camping in most cases.

Reporting a breach of planning control

If you believe a site is operating in breach of planning control, please report it at: Report a breach of planning control.  Unless there is evidence that the campsite has been operating beyond the 56 day limit, we may not investigate the matter.

It will help us investigate alleged breaches if you keep a diary of:

  • dates that tents, caravans, glamping or toilets were sited or present, or removed from the land
  • dates that a site was in use
  • dated photographs showing the above (please do not put yourself at risk doing this).

Operating a temporary site in breach of planning control is unlawful.  It risks formal enforcement action.  We cannot take action because a development does not have planning permission.  For action to be considered:

  • the development must be harmful in planning terms and
  • would not have got planning permission.  This may be because it is contrary to policy.

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 could only take action if:

  • the use continued in breach of planning control
  • it was expedient to do so.

Nuisance

The permitted development rights do not include any protection for neighbours.  We could only take action if:

  • the use continued in breach of planning control
  • it was expedient to do so.

Community and Environmental Protection officers can look at noise issues if there is a statutory nuisance.

Litter and pollution

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

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

Community and Environmental Protection deal with littering issues.

More information

The Government's National Planning Practice Guidance provides more information about permitted development rights.

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