Following concerns from local residents and parish councils, new planning guidelines are to be introduced in the autumn for new and larger temporary ‘pop up’ campsites within the New Forest National Park.
From 30 September, temporary 28-day campsites with 51 pitches or more, and any 28-day campsite established after 1 March 2020 will need planning permission from the National Park Authority.
The New Forest National Park has seen an increase in pop-up campsites in recent years. It now 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 28 days a year without planning permission (this figure was extended to 56 days during 2020 and 2021 to help businesses help recover from the pandemic). The New Forest National Park Authority’s new ‘Article 4 Direction’ means all new and the larger existing sites within the National Park would require planning permission. This enables the proposals to be considered in more detail and planning conditions applied where appropriate to protect communities and the environment.
A six-week public consultation held in late 2021 helped inform the NPA’s decision to agree the direction.
Gordon Bailey, chairman of the New Forest NPA’s Planning Committee, said: “The New Forest is already one of the most visited national parks in England, and it is vital we protect the very thing that people come here to enjoy.
“The new national park-wide Article 4 Direction does not necessarily stop temporary campsites being established – only that they require planning permission in the future. The new guidelines don’t affect smaller temporary campsites which have been operating for a number of years, only new and larger sites.
“Given the range and scale of internationally-protected nature conservation sites in the New Forest and on its coast, these legal considerations are particularly important in the national park.”
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