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Webinar: Land extra income with your own campsite

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With demand for UK camping holidays far outstripping supply, there’s never been a better moment to turn your unused plot of land into a profitable campsite.

The Camping and Caravanning Club has been helping landowners realise their potential for more than 80 years. So if you’ve got the space, now is the time.

All you need is at least half an acre of mostly level land and you’re good to go. Thanks to our exemptions, most owners don’t even need planning permission to set up a small site with basic facilities.

You’ll be joining our network of over 1,200 Certificated Sites, that only our members can book. That’s a ready-made audience of nearly three quarters of a million keen campers, always looking for new destinations to explore and experiences to enjoy.

In fact, many of them see this exclusive collection of smaller sites as one of the main benefits of their membership.

With our expert support, you could be welcoming your first guests and generating valuable extra income within weeks. Find out how easy it can be at

With the promise of simpler holidays, surrounded by nature and all the benefits it brings to wellbeing, tens of thousands of camping enthusiasts have ensured campsites up and down the country are booked for months in advance.

If you own at least half an acre of land, that’s mostly flat and currently underused, this could well be the moment to realise its potential by setting up your own campsite.

And with the expert support of The Camping and Caravanning Club, you could be up and running sooner than you think.

In this webinar you can find out how to go about starting a camping diversification. Our expert answers all your questions, including:

  • How does it work?
  • What about planning permission?
  • What support will you get?
  • How many guests can you have?
  • How much can you charge?
  • How do you get started?

Watch the video of the whole webinar or read the Q&A of some of the best questions.

Q&A with Damien Field, exempted camping manager at the Camping and Caravanning Club

1. What are the minimum requirements?

Half an acre is the minimum acreage needed for a campsite. “It needs to be fairly level, have safe access and ideally 100 metres of unrestricted views in both directions from the proposed site entrance” says Damien Field.

In addition, there needs to be a chemical disposal point which tends to be an underground cesspool with no outlets, two water points – one for drinking and one for rinsing – both with non-return valves and dry waste disposal, which is regularly emptied. It is also important to have public liability insurance.

2. What is a campsite exemption?

The Camping and Caravanning Club holds exemptions to the site licensing requirements of the 1936 Public Health Act and 1960 Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act.

“It allows organisations to establish Certificated Sites without needing to obtain planning permission – it changes the use of the land from agricultural for example, to recreational touring purposes”, explains Mr Field.

“To set up a Certificated Site, generally planning permission is not needed but some local authorities can interpret the legislation differently, particularly if facilities are being installed.

“We would always recommend double checking with them that planning is not needed.”

3. What are the steps to setting up a Certificated Site?

The first step is to go online, visit: and complete the online application form.

“There will be questions about what sort of site the applicant is looking to develop, then it will be handed to a specialist advisor who will be the point of contact going forward.”

“After initial checks, such as proximity to other Certificated Sites, we will then send a local site officer to assess the suitability of the land and as a part of that, we’ll look at factors such as, road infrastructure, visual impacts, and neighbouring properties.

“Then after a 28-day consultation period, all being well, we issue a list of developments to be completed within six months.”

Once the work has been done, the officer will re-visit to make sure everything is in order before issuing an annual exemption certificate.

So, what about neighbours? Part of the application process for The Camping and Caravanning Club is looking at neighbouring properties.

“As an exempted organisation we have the responsibility to consult with any neighbours that could be directly affected by the establishment of a campsite.” 

“This allows the neighbours to raise any concerns – a good relationship with neighbours is important.”

4. How does planning vary within areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) and national parks?

Being in an AONB or a national park is not an instant stop to an application.

“The Club would assess the potential impacts to sensitive areas, including comments from the local authorities, and would look to potentially introduce additional measures onsite, additional screening, for example.”

5. What makes a good site?

Every member wants something different from a site, but the first consideration is access.

“Members spend thousands of pounds on their vehicles, caravans and motorhomes – so make sure access is easy with no potholes. Make sure the ground is level, and it can be maintained along with the facilities,” says Mr Field.

In rural areas, there are a lot of single-track roads, which may cause difficulties.

“We ask that there are suitable passing places, long enough to get a car and a caravan in. So before setting up the site, look at this – it may be that a tent-only site would work better, or limiting the arrival and departure times.”

It’s possible to operate an all-year-round site, but consider drainage, and if the access will still be appropriate in wet weather.

“Electrical hook-ups might also be required if operating all year round as it can get cold at night.”

There is a minimum required distance of six metres between each pitch. “From the edge of the combined unit, there needs to be a gap for fire safety.”

There isn’t always a need for a staff member on-site. “We have sites where the owner lives a few miles down the road, which is fine as long as they are easily contactable and can get there in a short period of time.”

But it is important to be customer focused. “A nice welcome and making sure the members are happy goes a long way. The main thing is to enjoy running the site because visitors will pick up on that and will visit again.”

6. What are the benefits?

On average, a site with 15 units charging £17.50 a night between March and October (approximately 220 nights) could potentially turn over up to £57,000-£58,000, based on full occupancy.

There is also an option for secondary spend, like hiring out barbeques. “This is popular, as it tops up the income – a lot of sites sell firewood, provisions, breakfasts and bike hire.

“And if non-members want to pitch up, and they must be a member to do so, the owners can sign them up to the Club and retain the commission; the Club doesn’t take a commission on any bookings either.”

7. What is the cost of the site and services?

The cost of services depends on the facilities the landowner wants to provide.

“Electrical hook-up is the prime one, which depends on how far away you are from the transformer and cabling.

“Some landowners might be able to complete a lot of the work themselves, to keep the cost down. Get some quotes and speak to the Distribution Network Operator,” explains Mr Field.

“In terms of sewage, the cesspool needs to be around 600 to 800 gallons. The bigger it is, the less frequently it needs to be emptied. Speak to some local companies to see how much they charge.”

For a Certificated Site, the owner doesn’t have to provide toilets or showers. “But, if farmers are looking to offer camping, campers will look for toilets and showers, it makes it easier for them to stay for those longer periods.”  

The cost of the site varies, but a basic site can cost between £3,000 and £5,000. “It depends on how much work can be completed in-house as well as what facilities are provided.”

To be certificated and registered with the Club costs £198 including VAT, every two years – which isn’t charged until the site is issued its certificate.

8. With the current price of electricity, do there need to be electrical hook-ups?

Around 70% of Certificated Sites have electrical hook-ups.

“If the costs are astronomical, don’t worry. There are hundreds of sites which are non-electric and very popular; growing numbers of members now have solar panels and generators so are well equipped,” says Mr Field.

9. What are the insurance considerations?

Site operators must have public liability insurance which covers the owner, the members, and the units.

“The Camping and Caravanning Club has an insurance branch which offers landowners a package. But many landowners have public liability insurance already, for example, from NFU Mutual and usually these policies can be altered,” says Mr Field.

To find out more, please visit or call The Camping and Caravanning Club on 02477 670408.