Carwyn and Leanne run an organic beef farm on the Pembrokeshire coast, alongside a bed and breakfast and a DIY livery yard. Last year, they decided to take advantage of the permitted development rights introduced to support rural businesses recovering from the Covid pandemic, and the astonishing results were published earlier this year in the Western Telegraph.
A change in the rules allowed landowners to set up a temporary campsite for 56-days, an increase of 28-days from the original limit. The couple invested £1,500 in three portable showers and three kitchenettes and opened from July 9 to September 3. As a result, the family made £43,000 in contrast to the family’s herd of 26 organic Welsh Black sucker cows which generate around £10,000, in a good year!
With the on-going changes to farm support payments, many family businesses have been looking hard at ways to increase their overall farm income through diversification. That need has not gone away. Apart from a further cut in the next Basic Payment due in December, inflation is having a major impact on both fixed and variable costs. For some, the need for an additional income stream is greater than it has ever been.
The 56-day rule was a golden opportunity for anyone with spare land to try out a campsite without incurring a large capital spend and a steep learning curve. Can we deal with the public? Do we want the intrusion? Can we make more than the site charge by selling produce to our new campers?
We recently obtained an update from Alex Russell of Pitchup, Europe’s largest outdoor accommodation provider, and the Scottish Government are again allowing 56-days through permitted development rights. Lobbying continues in Whitehall and the Senedd to have a uniform approach across the England, Scotland, and Wales. Whatever the outcome of talks, the 28-day time period will remain the default, still enough time to try a new enterprise.
Our original #HelpfulFOLK webinar discussing the details of this rule with Alex Russell from Pitchup, is still available to listen to on demand via YouTube.