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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Glamping sites accused of pricing tent campers out of Yorkshire Dales | Travel & leisure

Expensive glamping sites and luxury lodge parks in the Yorkshire Dales are pushing out less affluent national park visitors who just want to pitch up in a tent.

John Amsden, the chair of Richmondshire district council’s planning committee, said they were popping up all over the Dales and there was little that could be done to stop them.

“Camping sites have changed from being camping sites – they are more like holiday parks,” he said. “Plus we’re getting a lot more sites with pods and lodges.”

Amsden said because the pandemic had led to so many people holidaying in the UK there had been large increase in applications for lodges and glamping sites. All of which was “pushing out” people who either can’t afford to glamp, or don’t want to.

“There used to be quite a few tent sites in the Dales but they’ve disappeared because of things like this. It is important for the younger generation. My daughter goes camping because it’s easy and it’s not expensive.”

He said planners’ hands were tied and they were often powerless to refuse permission for the sites.

Amsden said that lodges and pods were expensive structures to put up and applicants were only catering to demand.

But will the demand continue? “I’m concerned we’ll get all these places up and running but in three or four years’ time, as things change back to normal and people start going abroad again, they will have priced themselves out of the market. I can see them in five years’ time becoming derelict.”

Amsden is a member of the Yorkshire Dales national park planning committee, where the issue was raised this week.

It was debated as the committee agreed enforcement action against a Dales camp accused of unauthorised changes, including removing space for tents.

Bainbridge Ings, a long-established camping and caravan site at Hawes, had a complex planning history, planning officials said. A quarter of the site was meant to be for tents only and an application to change that to allow caravans and mobile homes had been refused. A subsequent appeal was turned down by the planning inspectorate because of the adverse visual impact.

The committee examined aerial photographs from the last year showing the owner had put in tracks and hard standings for mobile homes and caravans in the tent-only field.

“I was there this morning to see if anything had changed. It hadn’t,” said Ian Faircloth, planning enforcement officer. “There are still camper vans and motorhomes there. Rather interestingly, the only thing you won’t find in this area are any tents. There is a sign that reads ‘no tents allowed on site’.”

Richard Good, a committee member, said he had camped at the site on numerous occasions – “in a tent”.

He added: “The lack of actual tent camping in the area is becoming a serious problem. There is a definite need for camping in tents, it is much more economic. The reason why they don’t want tents is because they don’t get anything like the income from tents.”

Another committee member, Yvonne Peacock, said she could remember people bringing tents to the site and it being well-used, adding: “Bringing tents is a cheaper way for people to come and enjoy the Dales.”

She accused the campsite owners of “trying to make a mockery of our planning system”.

Enforcement action was agreed by the committee. Bainbridge Ings has been approached for comment.

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