Is camping the right farm diversification for your farm?
As more farms diversify into the camping market, Camp at my Place takes a closer look at whether it’s the right farm diversification option for you.
Diversified income streams can help farmers to secure new business and add resilience during uncertain times while providing others with an opportunity to really optimise their assets and unlock entrepreneurial skills within the farming families.
Every year there are more and more farmers looking to join the glamping and camping community by creating new sites for potential guests.
The number of farms offering temporary campsites has soared, boosted by a change to government planning policy that altered permitted development rights (PDRs) to help landowners generate extra income during the Covid-19 crisis, coupled with rising demand for outdoor getaways and staycations.
What are permitted development rights?
PDRs allow farmers to temporarily put land to alternative use, such as a campsite venture, without the need for full planning permission.
Until last summer PDRs were limited to 28 days in a year. In an attempt to boost the economy, the government doubled the period to 56 days. That allowed farms to make substantial incomes over an eight-week period.
In January, the Scottish Government and Northern Ireland’s chief planner stated they did not expect to enforce 28-day rule limits against any reasonable temporary outdoor uses where a longer period would be appropriate and helpful to businesses. The Welsh government has followed suit and advised local authorities to take a flexible approach to applicants looking to extend an existing 28-day permit to a longer period.
What is now possible?
The relaxation of restrictions has created a huge demand and people more recently are heading in droves to campsites in the countryside.
The key driver for the surge in demand for staycations and outdoor getaways was Covid-19 and more recently the relaxation of lockdown restrictions. People are looking for holidays in the open air, where they are able to keep their distance from other visitors.
Why a camping business?
Currently, there are 2,000 full-time campsites in the UK, yet there are 212,000 farms. With more and more people now wanting more sustainable holidays, the UK this year will see 9.6 million campers looking for a space to stay, and from our research, most sites are already full for the whole summer season. Now is the time to make these farm diversification changes.