EASING OF PLANNING RESTRICTIONS FOR CARAVAN AND HOLIDAY PARK OPERATORS AMONG COVID-19 RECOVERY PLANS
On July 14th, Rt Hon. Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government issued a Written Ministerial Statement advising that it was easing restrictions on the seasonal opening of holiday parks in England in order to aid the sector’s recovery from the impacts of closures from Covid-19.
The Statement stated how the nation’s cultural and tourism industries are vitally important to the economy and the communities they serve, noting that in response to Covid-19 the majority of caravan and holiday parks closed in March 2020 which has had a significant impact on their financial viability, affecting more than 2,200 of these businesses. These parks are a mainstay of their local economies, providing employment, and supporting local services and businesses.
The Government recognises that allowing parks to extend their operations beyond the usual summer period will be invaluable to parks and the recovery of the sector as visitors are encouraged to spread their holidays into the autumn and winter periods. The Government has recognised that a temporary relaxation of planning conditions which would ordinarily restrict the length of the operational season, could play a vital role in helping these businesses get up and running again.
As such, the Government is directing local planning authorities to temporarily suspend unnecessary enforcement action against any holiday park which may seek to operate outside of any such restrictive conditions during this period of recovery.
WHAT SHOULD PARK OWNERS DO TO BENEFIT FROM THIS RELAXATION OF POLICY?
Park owners are encouraged to speak to their local planning authority in the first instance to seek authorisation to extend their operating season. In some cases, particularly if the park is in a sensitive area, or subject to potential seasonal issues such as flood risk which may affect its safe operation through the winter months, a formal planning application may be requested to allow a temporary relaxation of the restrictive condition. Where a formal application is considered necessary, local planning authorities are being encouraged to prioritise such applications to deliver an early decision, thus providing park operators with certainty around their 2020-2022 operational window and enabling them to advertise availability early and to gear marketing campaigns around winter breaks. Interestingly, Local Planning authorities are being asked to consider the benefit to the local economy that an elongated operating season might pose, as communities are faced with the very real difficulties of recovery from the impact of Covid-19.
Rural Solutions are rural and quasi-rural diversification experts with vast experience in assessing and obtaining planning permissions in the leisure, tourism, hospitality, commercial, residential and renewables sectors. Should you wish to speak with one of our team regarding diversification of a land holding to caravan and holiday park, or any other potential usage then please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org