AN award-winning holiday park has responded to changing tourism demands caused by the coronavirus pandemic with a proposal to allow “self-contained holiday accommodation” onto a site in a national park.

Tourism bosses have said the impact of Covid-19 on North Yorkshire’s tourism industry has been profound, and particularly so for the array of holiday parks, many of which are sited in and around the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors.

The holiday parks closed on March 24 and were unable to open again until July, when they were subject to restrictions, leading the parks, and businesses in the surrounding area, to lose a substantial amount of income.

In response to the bleak trading conditions and amid warnings over the effects of the pandemic next year, Middlewood Farm Holiday Park, near Robin Hood’s Bay, has become among the first of the county’s hotspots for holiday-makers to apply for planning permission to make permanent changes to adapt to new demands.

The Beeforth family, which has developed the site over several decades, has lodged an application with the North York Moors National Park Authority to allow touring caravans or motorhomes to also to use part of the site currently approved for 66 tent pitches.

Planning documents state the proposal would address many problems Covid-19 has raised and claim the site is well screened by trees and mature vegetation so would not have a negative impact on the landscapes of the national park.

The planning papers state holiday-makers are looking to touring caravans and motorhomes to provide self-contained holiday accommodation.

They state: “Since the pandemic many UK holiday-makers have changed their habits. Many are taking staycations for the first time and are looking to stay safe in UK holiday parks. Further, rather than staying in tents, which are heavily reliant upon the communal toilet and wash block facilities provided by the park, customers are buying their own caravan or motorhome which are much more self contained and allow holiday-makers to feel more comfortable about making a holiday trip.”

The documents add the proposal would also allow more holiday-makers to visit when the weather is wet or cold as touring caravans and motorhomes have modern heating systems and are much more weatherproof than tents.

They state: “This will allow the business to recoup some of the loss made during its closure for Covid 19 in the early part of the year and possible future loss with potential closures which may apply in the coming months and years due to Covid 19 restrictions.

“The park is the hub of the local economy and thus it is important that the caravan park business is allowed to adapt to meet demand from customers and continue to remain viable.”