Call for pop-up campsites to carry “unlicensed” warning
FAMILIES SHOULD BE WARNED of the risks if they are planning to stay on an unlicensed camping site, says major holiday parks booking agency Caravan Sitefinder.
Pop-up sites, the company believes, should make it clear that they do not hold a licence from their local authority, and are not subject to the same controls as permanent parks.
Without such a warning, says Caravan Sitefinder, people may be in for a bitter disappointment when they find that quality standards fall far below their expectations.
“Allowing farmers to operate a campsite without planning permission for up to 56 days a year during the pandemic was a well-intentioned move,” said the firm’s Michael Paul.
“But the reality has been a raft of complaints from local communities and others about the safety, noise and pollution which these unregulated sites are generating.
“Some guests have also been shocked on arrival to find that aspects such as hygiene standards, proper supervision and distancing between pitches fall far below their expectations.
“There have been widely reported instances of inadequate toilet facilities, excessive noise and bad behaviour by other guests, and no efforts made to keep the site safe and clean.
“Permanent parks, by contrast, are subject to a raft of checks and balances by their site licences which ensure that everyone’s best interests are being served,” said Michael.
Caravan Sitefinder receives almost a million visitors a year seeking licensed holiday parks for camping, touring pitches, glamping and renting holiday homes.
The vast majority, says Michael, are either repeat customers or acting on a recommendation, and he attributes this to the quality of facilities and services which permanent parks provide.
But he is concerned that the staycation trend is tempting many families on first-time camping holidays, and some of these are lured by pop-up sites operating outside the licensing system.
“That’s why we are calling for a mandatory warning to be displayed by pop-ups on their website that they are not subject to conventional planning scrutiny,” said Michael.
“The warning should invite customers to satisfy themselves about what is and what is not being provided by the site, and whether this is in line with their expectations.
“Until this happens, or councils start to use their licensing powers to regulate pop-up sites, we will allow only permanent parks access to our booking platform,” he said.
The Caravan Sitefinder website was established 25 years ago and provides user reviews for many of the thousands of holiday parks it features.
More information about Caravan Sitefinder is available at www.caravansitefinder.co.uk