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Do you want to start your own campsite, touring caravan site or glamping business?

Starting up a campsite is relatively easy and could earn you between £5,000 and £25,000 per year. Whether you are a small holding, private garden, farm, pub or school. All you need is some spare land, drinking water and toilet waste point. Dreaming of starting your own campsite

Freedom camping club are a fully certified exempted organisation and have legal powers to licence any piece of land deemed suitable for camping and caravanning to operate as a campsite. You don't need to apply for planning permission or a licence from your local authority and its a great way to get a small campsite running in areas where planning approval would not normally be given.

There are 4 types of camping certificates which we can issue to your site. We can offer you 5 all year caravan pitches, unlimited tent camping pitches, unlimited rally pitches and unlimited member only rally pitches for upto 5 days. To operate a campsite on your land by licence of freedom camping club you will need to become a club steward, this doesn't necessarily mean that you have to do work for the club or be involved in meetings. It simply means that you will be more accountable to the club, this is the only way we can offer the added benefits of our club that you can't get with other clubs.

Our aim is to bring diversity and flexibility to camping and caravanning, making it possible for you to offer alternative methods of camping to our members and to the public. We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy the great countryside we have in this country, this is why we are encouraging sites to provide facilities such as shepherds huts, glamping pods, tepees or bell tents.

The process is simple, read the information pack and campsite terms and condition, fill out the application form and return it to us or fill in the online form. Once we receive your application, one of our consultants will contact you to discuss the process and what you will need to do before we can certify your site. Once we are happy that your site is safe and suitable we will issue an exemption certificate to allow camping and caravanning to commence. We may need to contact your neighbours and local authority to ensure there are no objection.

Guide to UK law for campsites

Campsite terms and conditions

Freedom camping club operates an a mutual benefit system. We offer free membership and 1 free night camping per year to every member. This adds a huge amount of value to being a member of the club and encourages members to visit our certified sites rather than other exempted sites or commercial campsites. It also encourages members to camp more, stay longer and return sooner. In addition it promotes recreational camping & caravanning, to people who didn't camp or caravan before.

Freedom Camping Club are very different to other camping and caravanning clubs, our aim is to promote camping and caravanning to everyone and make certified sites a widely available recreational resource to all. Other clubs operate exclusive to members policies and advertising restrictions which limit your market audience to around 300,000 and prohibit open advertising. We are a non-exclusive club giving you access to a market of around 6 million campers and caravan owners. With our glamping options you can further increase your market audience to the whole UK population of 64 million as owning a tent or caravan is not required.

Feature Freedom camping club Camping and caravanning club Caravan club
5 pitches 365 day Yes Yes Yes
Tent camping Yes Yes Limited to 10 pitches No
Open advertising Yes No No
Open to non members Yes No No
Seasonal pitches Yes Why we allow this No No
Free membership Yes No No
Member Data access Yes No No
Rally licence Yes No No
Online booking and live availability (CS/CL) Yes
Club sites only
Club sites only
Glamping pods n Yurts Yes
Selected sites only



Mr R Corfield - The Oaklands Leisure and Fishery

'We opened our site on the 17 th of July , our expectations were low after being with The so called Friendly Club for about 14 years , the total camping bookings over that period of time could be counted on one hand, and the unreasonable rules and regulations made it not worth bothering.
A meeting with and encouragement from yourself and your relaxed views to us advertising 3rd party , being open to non members, we have by far exceeded our expectations, from the opening date until now we have grossed on camping alone over £2750 we still have 1 or 2 bookings coming in but expect to be quiet until way into the new year. The Freedom Camping Club from a landowners point of view definitely put the other two organisations to shame.'


Who is eligible to join our club?

Anyone involved in camping and caravanning activities. You can be a land owner, land manager or events organiser. An events organiser may not have permanent access to land but may rent or occupy temporary land for the purpose of camping/caravanning.

I have been refused planning permission, can I apply?

Yes. Exemption certificates are outside the scope of Local Authority planning permission and in most cases a failed planning application would not prohibit an exemption certificate being issued. However the reason for planning refusal may also apply to the criteria of the club, so you would need to be assessed before we go ahead.

There are a few ways your local authority can prevent an exemption certificate being issue:

  1. Article 4 direction. This removes any permitted development for a site but is usually only seen near listed buildings, sites of significant historic, natural or scientific value.

  2. Article 3. Removes permitted development rights where the permitted development is likely to have a significant affect on a European conservation area.

  3. Paragraph 13. A local authority can apply to the courts to have an exemption removed. There has to be a very good reason for this.

Can I choose which exemption certificates I require?

Yes, we offer 4 individual certificates, 1 for tented camping, 1 for 5 all year caravan pitches, 1 for rallies and 1 for meetings; you can choose which option/s you undertake. You donít even have to take a certificate, you can just registering as a steward to get your site details listed in our website site search.

What is a rally?

A rally is a gathering of people. You can organise, host and supervise your own rallies on your site or any other site which has been approved by the club. Visitors to the rally don't have to be members of the club and don't have to have a specific interest other than they enjoy caravanning or camping.

You can organise a rally for a special event at your site, a local event or simply to coincide with a holiday period.

Is my land suitable for camping?

There are some basic facilities that are required legally, such as drinking water and toilet waste disposal but other than that there is little else required. The more facilities you have the more options we can offer.

What if my land is in a AONB or National Park?

National Parks and AONB's are designated areas which are restricted from development in order to preserve the natural characteristics of an area. The siting of movable dwellings for the purposes of recreational activities is not considered development in its self however does require change of use planning approval, this can be granted in a number of ways other than by the Local Planning Authority.

The statutory purpose of national parks is to promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of national parks by the public. This purpose compliments the purpose of exempted organisation and thus sites in National parks should not have a specific issue but will be required to meet the general acceptance requirements for a certificate of exemption. More about the  Purpose of National parks.

Local authorities which have AONB's in their area of responsibility are required to adopt and publish a management plan for the area, where that plan includes the encouragement of recreational activities an exemption would not normally be excluded, however the site would be required to meet general acceptance criteria and may also be subject to other criteria set out in the AONB management plan.

Historic landscape character and visual amenity are generally more sensitive in these areas, this may result in the requirement for a more in depth analysis of these aspects in the form of a heritage impact assessment or landscape and visual impact assessment.

Do you contact our neighbours?

We will contact anyone who may be adversely impacted by your site, this may include your neighbours. We will also contact your local authority to ensure there are no legal reasons to prohibit the exemption. We will consider any valid objection and may limit your certificate by  condition. How we identify who is impacted?

There is a delicate balance between the rights of applicants, the club, local residents, road users and other users of the area, we carefuly consider these rights before making a formal decision.

Can I build a toilet block on my certified campsite

Building, excavations and other works may require you to make a planning application, an exemption certificate only allows the site to be used as a campsite and doesn't allow you to undertake work for the site. Although there are a number of permitted development rights which may assist, we will advise what may be permitted development during the application process.

Can I use portable toilets such as composting toilets or portaloos

Portable structures are usually considered chattels which do not require planning approval, however if the structures are not easily movable, are attached to the ground or have fixed utility attachements they may fall into the definition of a buliding. Chattels have been frequently considerd by the courts and a series of cases currently define their physical characteristics. The club will advise successful applicants further if required.

Portaloos are not favoured by campers and should only be considered as a last resort or temporary solution.

Any composting toilet must be properly designed and meet the Environment Agency regulatory position 114. The club will not accept long drop, tree bog or any other makeshift composting toilets.

Do I have to leave the Camping and Caravanning Club / Caravan and Motorhome Club.

No. You can choose to run your site as a dual certified site, but you can not hold the same type of certificate from two different organisation i.e You can have a 5 caravan pitch certificate from one organisation and camping or rally certificate from another, but you can not have a 5 pitch caravan certificate from both.

Can I transfer my exemption from the Camping and Caravanning Club / Caravan and Motorhome Club.

All clubs are required to demonstrate due diligence in assessing and approving sites. While both the CCC and CAMC carryout assessment and conduct consultations, we have found their methods to be lacking for our purposes.

Sites that have been approved by the CCC or CAMC are not guaranteed acceptance. For example we will not accept sites where relevant article 4 directions apply, where The Environment Agency standing advice prohibits more vulnerable use or where regard has not been given to section 75-78 of the habitat regulation. Some sites may be required to upgrade facilities. I.E chemical toilet waste disposal into septic tanks or treatment plants is not acceptable.

How long do certificates last.

A certificate will last for 1 year but may be withdrawn if your site no longer meets the criteria required to allow camping and caravanning activities or there is a breach of the code of conduct or your local authority makes a serious valid objection to your site.

How much does it cost.

With any club there are costs incurred so we have two methods of covering those cost. You can opt into the online booking system, to which there are no upfront cost, we simply take a small booking fee when a member books through the online system.  There is no cost for bookings taken by you over the phone or other means.  If this is unsuitable you can opt to pay a small monthly subscription of just £5 and a site administration fee of £5 per certificate.

How do I apply

If you have read the information pack and want to apply, you can fill in the application form attached to the information pack or apply online here. Once we receive your application we will review it and  contact you to discus your plans and arrange a site assessment. After the site assessment we will contact your local authority and neighbours if required. If there are no objections to the application we will then make you a formal offer, all you have to do is accept the offer and we will then issue you with the licences and you can start to accept caravans and campers to your site.

We will assess your site against the legal exemption criterea, the club criteria and any relevent secondary legistlation. There is a considerable amount of work to be done before a decision can be reached, this can take some time, as a general rule you should allow around 10 weeks for the whole process to be completed.

I have recieved an enforcement notice, does this prevent me from applying

No. Enfrocement is a method to prevent unauthorised development or regularise development that has taken place. Unauthorised development in its self is not unlawful and enforcement action is not intended to impose penalties or prevent future authorised development.

If your enfocement relates to camping and caravanning activities, it is acceptable to seek regularisation by means of an exemption from licencing and subsequent planning approval granted by the Secretary of State under Article 3 of the Town and Country Planning ( General Permitted Development  ) Order 2015. However if the enforcement relates to buildings, structures or activities outside the exemption allowances you will be required to comply with any enforcement notice and its conditions.

Historic enforcement may relate to development which has since been granted planning approval by Article 3 of the GPDO 2015. Where permitted development has been granted which is consistant with the enforcement notice the notice will cease to have effect on enactment of the relevent class of development under section 180 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

How do I advertise my site

We will advertise your site on this website, on social media platform such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+. We also encourage you to advertise on as many campsite directories, search facilities as you can.

If you have a special event or you are not meeting you expected occupancy, we will help to boost your bookings. We will do this by boosting social media campaigns, text marketing to members, email campaigns and search engine PPC campaigns.

We want you to be a successful as you can be. This benefits members, you and the club as a whole.

Can site stewards stay onsite

Yes. Site stewards can stay onsite but only for their own recreational purposes and you must follow the same rules as any other visitor. While onsite you can supervise camping and caravanning activities as an ancillary activity.

If you do not live on site we will require a suitable scheme of supervision of the site at all times. For applications prior to June 1st 2021 all stewards must have a permanent residential address within 10 miles, from the 1st of June 2021 this must be within 5 miles.

The club can not authorise any residential use of certified sites even short term residential use.

How long can I operate a camping or caravan site without a licence or exemption

In England and Wales you may not require a licence for tent camping for 42 consecutive days or a total of 60 days in any 12 month period. However the use of land for this purpose beyond 28 days would likely be a breach of planning and enforceable by your local authority planning enforcement, there are also secondary aspect of law which may not allow the change of use of land such as Article 4 directions and section 75-78 of the Conservation of Habitat and Species Regualtions 2017.

All Caravan sites must hold a licence or satisfy a condition to meet exemption criteria set out in the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960. There are some general exemption which would allow caravans to stay on land for 28 days of the year but these are limited in number and duration. IE a parcel of land of less than 5 acres could accept only 1 caravan for no more than 2 consecutive nights.

It is an offence to allow camping or caravanning on your land if you do not hold a licence or exemption. There are also a number of secondary aspects to conside and in worse case scenarios a land occupier could face a substantial fine or even 6 month in prison for breaches of secondary legislation.

The club would not recommend that any land occupier goes it alone as the use of 28 day permitted development is thwart with complications. Please review further advice here UK campsite law