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Have your say on new pop-up campsite planning controls for the New Forest

The New Forest National Park Authority has issued new planning controls for temporary campsites to protect local communities and the environment of the New Forest.

Under new national ‘permitted development rights’ introduced by the Government in Summer 2023, pop-up campsites can operate for 60 days a year without planning permission.

Planning authorities can make an ‘Article 4 Direction’ which means proposals can’t be carried out under national permitted development rights and instead require a planning application. In ecologically-sensitive areas such as national parks, this allows the proposal to be considered in more detail and, where appropriate, suitable planning conditions to be attached.

Such a Direction was issued last year in response to concerns from local residents, parish councils and other organisations around the number of temporary campsites operating in the National Park, their impact on local communities and the wider landscape and habitats of the New Forest.

Following the introduction of further nationwide permitted development rights in July this year, the Authority has made a new Direction that has immediate effect, meaning certain ‘pop-up’ campsites within the New Forest National Park boundary will need to apply for planning permission to operate.

The rules apply to:

  • any land first used as a temporary recreational campsite after 1 March 2020; and

  • the use of any land as a temporary recreational campsite for more than 28 days in total in any calendar year.

Article 4 Directions can be used by local planning authorities to protect residential amenity, the special qualities and habitats of an area, and the National Park Authority believes the use of the Direction within the protected landscape of the National Park is justified.

The New Forest National Park has seen a significant increase in the number of pop-up campsites since lockdown, and also has more than three times the number of camping and touring caravan bed spaces per square kilometre than the average of all other English national parks.

Gordon Bailey, Chair of the New Forest NPA Planning Committee, said: ‘The New Forest is already one of the most visited National Parks in England and has the highest proportion of land designated as internationally important for nature conservation in the country. It’s therefore vital we protect the very thing that people come to enjoy.

‘Holiday parks and campsites are already well provided for in the National Park, and the new Article 4 Direction will help prevent negative impacts and pressures on our communities, protected habitats, wildlife and landscapes.’

The new Article 4 Direction applies across the whole of the New Forest National Park and comes into force on 27 October. As part of the process, comments on the introduction of the new Article 4 Direction are invited and the consultation is open from 27 October 2023 to 1 December 2023.

To take part, please go to www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/Article4 where you can see the Direction and accompanying plan on the New Forest National Park Authority website from 27 October. Or you can view it at the New Forest National Park Authority’s offices, Town Hall, Avenue Road, Lymington, Hampshire, SO41 9ZG.

Comments/representations can be sent to the Policy Manager at the above address or emailed to policy@newforestnpa.gov.uk, quoting ‘Article 4 Direction – temporary recreational campsites’.

The consultation comments received between 27 October and 1 December 2023 will be considered when the Authority makes a decision on whether to confirm the Direction, which will take place by 26 April 2024. The National Park Authority will shortly produce updated guidance to help inform future planning applications for temporary campsites.

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