A packed council meeting saw plans to expand a holiday park’s lodges rejected.
Owner William Lee of Epworth Fields Holiday Park wanted permission for 17 more static lodges, the creation of a new pond, and a reception block. Vocal opposition from neighbours saw the application delayed in August for a site visit by councillors.
Eight speakers, including Mr Lee and Axholme Central Ward Cllr Tim Mitchell, spoke at North Lincolnshire Council‘s planning committee when it returned in September. Councillors refused it, concerned about the adverse impact on the Isle of Axholme’s character and historic landscape.
Epworth Fields Holiday Park is in Newland Lane, with a small number of neighbouring homes. Drainage, traffic, wildlife, loss of privacy and the proximity of multiple bins were all concerns raised by residents who objected.
Together with existing lodges, the 17 new ones would have taken the site to more than 40 static holiday lodges or caravans.
“The lane is heavily used, sometimes by agricultural vehicles,” said Richard Henderson, objecting. He was also sceptical that a 28 day maximum lodge stay was and would be kept to by all holiday park visitors.
“100 per cent of the residents of Newland oppose this application,” said Mr Hoggatt, another objector. He was aggrieved as his home, the nearest to the site, was overlooked when planning officers wrote in a report the proposal was “well distanced from any neighbouring dwelling”.
“It’s almost like it’s invisible,” he said. Under the plans, he said two lodges would be close enough to have direct sight into his garden, kitchen and a bedroom.
“Do 11 people matter? It’s your decision if we matter,” said another Newland Lane objector, profoundly unhappy about multiple holiday park bins being within feet of their home.
An agent on behalf of Mark Simmonds Planning Services made effectively the business pitch for the lodges expansion. He said Mr Lee had taken into account site sensitivities with amendments and highlighted the positives for the rural economy. “This will create a number of employment opportunities.”
“Whilst we all want to support rural businesses and open up the countryside to be enjoyed, it cannot be at any price,” argued Cllr Mitchell, who thanked residents for “powerfully and movingly expressing their concerns”. He wanted all touring caravans and camping stopped at the site.
Mr Lee reiterated to the planning committee his intention for the business to move away from this. “We’re wanting to get rid of it completely and concentrate on the lodges.” He was also happy as a planning condition for the waste bins to be moved to a different part of the holiday park.
During the planning process, a letter by Mr Lee had said the aim was to achieve “a five-star luxury lodge site, offering fishing and high-end lodges surrounded by the scenic countryside of Epworth”. It also suggested appealing to far-flung Methodist tourists, given the town’s history as the birthplace of Methodist founders John and Charles Wesley.
After the site visit earlier in the day, Cllr John Davison said he was “very surprised by how narrow the road was” leading to the holiday park. He felt it would adversely affect the Isle of Axholme’s historic landscape.
Cllr Mick Grant also favoured refusal, believing the lodges were in the “wrong place”, too close to nearby homes. “I haven’t got anything against the site, I just think the lodges need moving somewhere else.”
It was refused by six votes to one. Cllr Max Bell voted in favour, concerned about the council losing money on appeal, though sympathetic to residents’ worries.
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Original artice: https://www.grimsbytelegraph.co.uk/all-about/scunthorpe