Outdoor accommodation provider backs calls to reinstate 56-day Permitted Development ruling
16th March 2022
Pitchup.com is backing a Yorkshire MP in his quest to boost the UK’s rural economy. Earlier this week, Robert Goodwill, MP for Scarborough and Whitby, called on Housing Secretary Michael Gove to reinstate the right for farmers and landowners to operate pop-up campsites for 56 days each year without applying for planning permission.
The call comes after the government extended Permitted Development Rights (PDR) – the regulations that govern temporary campsites – to 56 days in June 2020, to help rural communities recover from the COVID pandemic.
But on 31st December 2021, PDR reverted to the original limit of 28 days, threatening to derail the ongoing rural economic recovery.
According to figures from Pitchup.com, pop-up campsites generated £25m for the rural economy in 2021, with more than half of that money being spent with local businesses, meaning entire communities felt a financial uplift.
Yorkshire was one of the most popular destinations with campers, with almost £900,000 being spent in the county at pop-up campsites and surrounding businesses, Pitchup.com’s analysis revealed.
Dan Yates, founder of Pitchup.com, (pictured below) gave his full backing to Mr Goodwill and joined him in urging Michael Gove to reinstate the 56-day ruling.
He said: “The rural economy has benefited hugely from PDR being extended to 56 days. But this isn’t just about the economy, it is about people – small rural businesses, farmers, and communities doing what they could to survive a really difficult time.
“The 56-day ruling was instrumental in that. It enabled landowners and farmers to set up campsites for long enough to make a real impact on their own businesses and those around them. It kept a lot of businesses afloat during the pandemic, especially those in the tourism and hospitality sectors, that otherwise might have folded.
“To take it away now could undo all that good work. The pandemic hasn’t gone away, and with the terrible state of unrest in the world, which impacts hugely on farmers in regard to fuel and fertilisers costs, not allowing them to find alternative forms of income could be devastating.
“Not only that, many holidaymakers, still wary of flying, will be in need of a restful break in the beautiful English countryside. Keeping PDR at 28 days will deny many of them that opportunity.”
Mr Goodwill told Parliament that the 56-day ruling had worked well last year and generated no complaints.
“Twenty-eight days isn’t really enough, but 56 days would cover the summer holiday and peak season for camping and caravanning,” he said.
“And, of course, the more people that come to North Yorkshire, the more people will be spending money in the shops, pubs, restaurants and everywhere else.
He added: “If we don’t do this, people will start camping on other land without permission and we already have a problem with camper vans parking in lay-bys and emptying chemical toilets where they shouldn’t.”
Mr Goodwill urged the government to make a decision “fairly soon” as people need to decide whether to hire out camping facilities or use their land for another purpose ahead of the summer.