With margins in the agricultural sector facing increasing pressures, farmers and landowners are always on the lookout for economic ways to diversify to identify and capitalise on new revenue streams. One market that has seen continued growth, even over recent months, is tourism in the UK - a staycation, or a ‘UK-ation’ as it sometime known.
Holidaying in the UK has seen a huge resurgence in recent years. During the pandemic, this has largely been due to necessity, with most of us being unable to travel abroad as easily as we would like. However, even before anyone had heard of COVID-19, ‘staycations’ were seeing a significant increase, with many of us seeking to cut down on our carbon footprint and perhaps, reduce some of the stress often associated with long haul travel by staying closer to home.
Home from home in Cheshire
Our beautiful county of Cheshire, with its picturesque villages and market towns, historic properties and miles of open countryside, enjoys great accessibility from the whole of the UK, thanks to the close proximity of the national motorway network and good rail links. It’s no surprise then that this region has seen an increase in the number of places in which holidaymakers can choose to stay. And the places on offer are far more varied than traditional guesthouses and hotels. From cool barn conversions to shepherds’ huts, tepees and treehouses, there is a fabulous range of out-of-the ordinary accommodation to choose from. Even camping, once seen as perhaps a less glamorous option for a holiday, has been taken to the next level, with a number of stunning ‘glamping’ sites popping up across the county. Unlike basic camping, glamping is far more of an all year-round activity, meaning there is income to be had in both High Season and Low Season. It’s also important to remember that a diversification scheme, such as this, can be eligible for government funding and subsidies too.
Turning diversification dreams into reality
When it comes to diversification, we can work with clients across the country to help them realise their vision for a new scheme, whether it is conversion of old agricultural buildings or the development of something completely new, such as glamping pods.
One such scheme that we have been involved with is located locally in the Malpas area. Our clients have been granted planning permission for a diversification scheme consisting of 10 glamping pods, a café, farm shop, coffee roaster, pasteuriser and campsite amenity facilities.
We developed the initial concept design of this ambitious project. It was extremely important for the success of the planning application that the drawings showing the design of the proposed buildings would clearly demonstrate that they would blend in perfectly with the agricultural aesthetic of the surrounding countryside.
Initially the planning application was recommended for refusal by the case officer, although the local community was supportive of the scheme. However, the application received support from members of the planning committee. This was due to the potential benefits the scheme will bring to the local economy and also the committee’s awareness of the importance of supporting rural diversification, especially in the light of decreasing agricultural grant support and the devastating impact of Covid-19.
Ultimately, the application was approved, subject to a range of conditions designed to protect the rural environment and local biodiversity. The construction drawings created by our designer, submitted for the review, plainly showed that the new buildings will look very similar to local agricultural buildings and are designed in such a way so as to integrate perfectly with the surrounding landscape.
We can offer advice and ideas on how to get the most out of your land. If you are a landowner who is interested in diversification, contact us today, to find out how we can help you.