Camping, Glamping & Airbnb – Issues and Opportunities to Consider in Cornwall

1st June 2021

With the pandemic hopefully now receding, many holiday businesses in Cornwall will be looking hard at how they can benefit from the expected rebound and as visitors return to the area in search of a staycation. As planning consultants working across Cornwall, we have experience with a range of different types of tourism schemes. If you have, or are planning on creating, a holiday business, you may find the following to be of interest to you.

Do you need planning permission at all?
You may not be required to seek planning permission for your camping, glamping or similar business. Under changes introduced last year to the permitted development regulations, most schemes that allow for such activities can now operate for up to 56 days in a year without the need to secure planning permission first. Some restrictions do apply so it is worth checking with us first to confirm that you will benefit from this change.

For many businesses such as campsites and holiday parks, existing planning restrictions may well limit the length of their operating seasons. However, in a statement on measures to support the holiday industry, the planning minister has made it clear that local authorities should take a pragmatic approach to such limitations and a proportionate approach where breaches of these controls occur. Where planning applications do need to be made, for example, to vary relevant conditions on existing planning permissions, Councils are asked to prioritise these in order to help local businesses recover from the effects of the pandemic.

Airbnb type activities are an increasingly important feature of the tourism landscape of Cornwall. Whether such uses need planning permission has been the subject of some debate and will ultimately depend on the details and the way in which individual properties are operated. However, it is clear that Cornwall Council, mindful of the potential implications, are likely to require a formal grant of planning permission for Airbnb type uses in most circumstances. Our current experience also confirms that this is one form of holiday operation which the Council is likely to consider enforcement action on in cases with significant breaches. More positively, and following a more practical approach being adopted in national policy, the Council have allowed holiday uses of this type to come forward and they appear to be taking a more positive approach towards such applications.

Our planning consultants have considerable experience dealing with tourism and leisure schemes of all sizes and types and we would be happy to help you with any queries you may have about how the planning system works for this sector. Read our article ‘South-West Staycations’ for more information and get in touch with our Cornwall office for further planning advice.

Iestyn John, Partner

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