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Testing the water as a camping site

Top tips on making use of adjoining land

Many pubs have adjoining land which they use for a spot of additional business in the form of camping or caravanning. You may not have an indoor swimming pool or a gleaming new toilet and shower block but you will have a good range of ales and possibly food, and a warm place to consume them if the British weather does what the British weather likes to do. Having a permanent site usually requires a licence but there are ways in which you can test the water without taking the plunge to judge whether this particular form of diversification works for you.

If you want to avoid the need to apply for a licence for your site then you need to ensure that you act within the following limits:

  • caravan(s) are not being used on site for more than 2 nights at any one time (so long as caravan(s) have not been present for more than 28 days during the previous year);
  • tents are not on site for more than 42 days consecutively, or 60 days total, in a year;
  • for both caravans and tents the site is 5 or more acres and there are 3 or less caravans or tents which are there for 28 days or less a year.

The site would also not need a licence if you:

  • Have a camping or caravan exemption certificate, for example because you are a member of the Caravan Club;
  • Have been approved by an organisation with a caravan exemption certificate;
  • You have members of an exempted organisation, e.g. a local scout group staying on your site; or
  • Allow the site to be used for members of a caravan club, e.g. for a rally.

If you are applying for an exemption or are allowing an exempted organisation to stay on your site then you need to ensure that either you apply for, or they have, the correct exemption for either caravan or camping. These are two separate exemptions and so if you wish to allow both caravans on your site then you (or they) should have both.

Remember also there may be aspects of your Premises Licence that you need to consider, for example whether you wish to offer off-sales to campers. Check your licence permissions and conditions. If there are any restrictions on your licence which you need to amend/remove then you can make an application for a variation of your premises licence to the licensing authority. In any event it is always advisable to speak with your local authority for advice on food hygiene, health and safety and associated issues.

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