Views sought on new planning rules for pop-up campsites to help protect the New Forest

A consultation on proposed new planning rules to regulate both new and larger temporary campsites has been launched.

The New Forest National Park has seen an increase in pop-up campsites in recent years and the National Park Authority is proposing that all temporary campsites over 50 pitches as well as all new temporary sites established since 1 March 2020 should be required to apply for planning permission to help protect the environment. The New Forest National Park 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. There are currently 12 known temporary campsites operating, with pitch numbers ranging from 12 to 90.

Under national permitted development rights, temporary campsites can currently legally operate for 56 days a year without express planning permission and the NPA is proposing introducing an ‘Article 4 Direction’ in the National Park which would require a planning application for all new and the larger existing sites. Article 4 Directions can be used by local planning authorities to protect the amenity of an area and the National Park Authority believes the use of the Direction within the protected landscape of the National Park is justified.

Planning Committee Chairman Gordon Bailey 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, so it is vital we protect the very thing that people come here to enjoy.

‘These new rules will not affect smaller temporary campsites which have been operating for a number of years. However, we are concerned about the impact of larger sites and any new sites, and it is proposed that these should require planning permission in the future.’

The NPA said that even before the pandemic, it appears that the trend for more ‘permitted’ camping and caravan sites is likely to continue into the future. The consultation on the Article 4 Direction runs from 27 September to 7 November, and comments received will be taken into account in deciding whether to confirm the Direction.

The Direction and accompanying plan can be seen on the NPA website at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk or at the NPA offices: New Forest National Park Authority, Town Hall, Avenue Road, Lymington, Hampshire, SO41 9ZG.

Consultation responses can be sent to the Policy Manager at the above address or by email to policy@newforestnpa.gov.uk, quoting ‘Article 4 Direction – temporary campsites’.

If the Direction is confirmed it will come into effect on 30 September 2022. Before then, the NPA will produce updated guidance and policies to help inform future planning applications for new and larger campsites.

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