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23rd July 2020
The nation’s tourism industry is vitally important to the economy and the communities it serves. Many businesses in the sector have, and are continuing to face, severe disruption due to Covid-19. Roger Parry & Partners are pleased the Government has finally recognised the importance of these sectors and is making alterations to extend the holiday season via planning permission changes.
The Westminster Government has recognised that the tourism industry will need to be able to adapt to secure its financial future. In response to Covid-19 the majority of UK businesses closed in March 2020, including caravan and holiday parks. This has had a significant impact on the financial viability of over 2,200 businesses in this sector that employ around 46,000 staff. These parks are a mainstay of their local economies, providing employment and supporting local services and businesses.
Caravan and holiday parks in England were able to reopen from 4 July 2020. Extending their operation beyond the usual summer season will be invaluable to parks as the sector begins to recover. Current planning conditions may limit their open season however. The temporary relaxation of these planning restrictions can play a vital role in helping local businesses to get up and running again.
Richard Corbett, Partner and Planning expert with Roger Parry & Partners said, “We will be working with planning authorities on behalf of our clients in the tourism sector to ensure the authority considers the benefits of a longer opening season this year to the local economy as it recovers from the impact of Covid-19.
The National Planning Policy Framework already emphasises that planning enforcement is a discretionary activity and local planning authorities should act proportionately in responding to suspected breaches of planning control. Given the current situation, while local planning authorities must have regard to their legal obligations, they should not seek to undertake planning enforcement action which would unnecessarily restrict the ability of caravan and holiday parks to extend their open season.
Where local planning authorities consider it appropriate to require an application to vary relevant planning conditions (where for instance there is a risk of flooding or where parks are situated close to protected sites) they should prioritise the application and make an early decision to provide certainty to caravan and holiday park operators. In doing so, they should consider the benefits of longer opening season times to the local economy as it recovers from the impact of Covid-19.
Richard Corbett said, “Our team of planning experts are on hand to help anyone who needs assistance with dealing with their relevant planning authority.”