“a form of camping involving accommodation and facilities more luxurious than those associated with traditional camping”.
"glamping is likely to satisfy any city slicker seeking a little refuge in nature without foregoing any of life's luxuries".
You’ll need to offer a solution that your customers want to use and for which they are willing to pay good money. The path is harder if you put in a solution, which you “think” sounds great but which does not tick the customers’ boxes… To use a sales analogy, you should offer what you can sell NOT try to sell what you can offer.
You will certainly need to apply for (or revisit) planning permission for “Change of Use” of the land. In the UK it is a legal obligation to obtain land use consent. This is carried out via the planning department of your local council, also drawing on regulations set by The Environment Agency and your regional water authority.
Planning can be a complex affair where it might be wise to enlist the help of your own solicitor. Their advice will be to make sure you have planning permission in place before you go ahead: don’t commit precious funds to a venture for which you cannot subsequently gain planning permission.
Depending on your choice of glamping product, on the premise that where people are staying in accommodation they will generate grey and black waste, you will need to handle and control that waste in some manner.
As a general guideline, if you are going to create any hole in the ground for a new building or to accept a waste tank (for example) you will always need planning permission. But don’t just take our word for it: always consult with your local planning office as interpretations and permissions may vary regionally.
Some glamping products may be interpreted by planning officers as fixed buildings; some may be seen as temporary structures:
e.g. A £15,000 glamping hut installed over a septic tank will be treated differently - from a planning perspective - from a £5,000 movable shepherd’s hut using a movable waste tank.
There is a vast range of glamping products you might offer your future customers: from teepee to shepherd’s hut, from wooden log cabin to tree house etc. Whichever of these products you choose, they all come at varying prices to buy and install, with a resultant effect on revenue, running costs, cash flow and return on investment.
Some products will require a relatively modest investment; some may be eye-wateringly expensive. Even modestly-priced products will not yield a decent return if you can’t attract (enough) customers or - for example - your nearest neighbour offers the same product. It’s vital to make sure you have a product offering that customers will use. Offer what you can sell and carry out good marketing all the way through.
Keep in the back of your mind that the location you would like to use may not ultimately be the location for which you are granted planning permission. You may need to change your plans if, for example, your fishing holiday-themed glamping idea does not get planning permission to be located on your river bank…will it ultimately attract the customers you want?
The location you have outlined may not be suitable for every glamping product in terms of delivery, installation, connection of water and waste supplies and accessibility for ongoing maintenance.
e.g. a large septic tank is a bulky item to deliver, may require specialist equipment to offload, requires a large hole to be dug for installation, requires sufficient drainage capacity within the ground for grey water to run away (subject to the necessary planning permission, of course) and will require yearly access (typically) for the septic tank emptying vehicle when the solid matter needs to be removed.
So, on this matter alone (and other challenges may arise):
Via your planning office, you may need to consult The Environment Agency to determine how waste is handled and what measures / solutions / controls you must
put in place.
If you’re not an expert, it may be advisable and necessary to consult builders and/or structural engineers on groundworks and drainage.
“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.
You should recognise that there will be differing motivations from customers wanting to go glamping and you will not be able to satisfy every need.
…some customers may want a totally “off grid” experience in a shepherd’s hut or teepee with no Wi-Fi, no disturbance, simple composting toilets…
and, at the other end of the spectrum…
…some customers may be prepared to spend £1,000 a week for your amazing view, the luxury log cabin with wood burner, Wi-Fi, hot and cold running water with toilets “just like home”, farm activities for the kids etc.
So, as you won’t be able to offer a solution for every potential customer, and as there will be other external factors to consider, such as planning permission, it will be a question of deciding your offering based on your research. You can only make money by having the products people want to use, at the right price…a glamping hut isn’t going to work in a city centre, and a 5-star hotel isn’t going to work in the middle of your wood.
To recap, in no particular order, whether new to the business or experienced, your preparation should include:
Building regulations require foul drainage to be connected to a public sewer or where this is not practicable to one of the following;
2. Septic Tank
3. Package Sewage Treatment Plant
The above options all have advantages and disadvantages. In order to decide which option is most appropriate to meet your requirements please study the following information.
Please note that some older septic tanks still discharge directly to watercourses. However this practice is becoming less common due to more stringent consent standards. See below regarding Consent to Discharge.
Please note that completion of an application form and payment of fee does constitute permission to discharge.
A numeric consent limit is where the EA or SEPA will specify figures in milligrams per litres for the following parameters:
All installation procedures should be carried out observing the requirements of the relevant legislation. The two bodies who must be contacted are:
These regulatory institutions will give guidance as to where a treatment plant and discharge point or soakaway can be situated.
Created 42,000 litres per day of Elsan® / chemical toilet waste with no mains water flushing involved. At 7 litres per person this was highly concentrated waste, heavily perfumed with Elsan® Blue toilet chemical. Peak emptying of chemical toilets was after breakfast. Shower, washing and kitchen “grey” water was handled separately.
We hope to keep you informed of any interesting news and new developments within Glampsan.