Growing market for caravanning and camping in Lewes District

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A STUDY into caravanning and camping sites in Lewes district found there was potential to attract more visitors if capacity was increased.

The research showed there was strong demand for camping and caravaning sites at weekends and during the peak summer months.

There was also clear evidence of shortages of sites at bank holidays and at weekends during the summer.

The study was commissioned by Lewes District Council and Tourism South East.

It provides an assessment of the market potential of touring caravanning and camping provision in the district.

TYhe study also looked at expanding and developing existing sites, as well as creating new sites, including the development of luxury camping offers.

According to the economic impact assessment of tourism in Lewes district undertaken in 2009, 12,000 touring caravan and camping breaks and holidays were taken in the district in 2009, accounting for 32,000 overnight stays and a total direct visitor expenditure of almost £1.5m.

A spokesperson for the district council said: “The study recognises that most existing sites in the area have spare capacity during the week and for most weekends outside the peak summer months and Bank Holidays.

“In considering proposals for future facilities for touring caravanning and camping, the study recognises that there is also a clear need to protect the landscape of the district, particularly in the South Downs National Park, as it is this landscape that often attracts the visitors for camping and caravanning breaks and holidays.”

The study suggests that the priorities should be small scale expansion of existing sites and the controlled development of largely small scale new sites that are well screened and landscaped.

The South Downs National Park Authority is now become the planning authority for their area, which includes a significant part of Lewes District.

The study will therefore be utilised by both the district council and the National Park Authority to guide planning decisions concerning touring caravan and camping proposals in their respective areas.

To download a copy of the Camping and Caravanning Study, please go to http://www.lewes.gov.uk/planning/backgroundreps.asp.