2. Camping Planning Application
Planning Application Ref: 16/04039/FUL
The second application concerns the Campsite, formally referred to as Land South Of Holycombe House
Use of approximately 4565sqm of land for camping, accommodating not more than 40 campers in tents or small camper vans and associated areas for vehicle parking alongside tents.
Glamping structures accommodating not more than 26 people comprising.
4 moveable wooden bases accommodating canvas yurts and bell tents.
Airstream wheeled caravan.
Gypsy caravan on wheels.
Showman's living van on wheels.
Wooden boat house.
and associated areas for vehicle parking alongside glamping structures.
3. Associated wooden facilities:
4. Alterations to access to campsite.
What does this mean for people in the village?
The Campsite will no longer be classified as solely having agricultural use. If granted, the planning consent will cover various classes of commercial activity as wide as C1 and D2 which includes an hotel, a health centre, a bingo hall or a training centre. Any of these could involve a range of noisy outdoor activities. Sally and Andy haven't said they have plans to run a Bingo Hall (!) but any new owner is likely to want to maximise the commercial return from the site.
We have not yet seen any planning conditions that Stratford District Council might seek to impose on the operation of the Campsite.
Although these are important, they will not ensure that the activities on the Campsite remain "quiet" and limited as they have been in the past.
The planning conditions will not be as extensive as the Birtwells' self-imposed restrictions which they have operated over the last two years.
The change to commercial use means that any buyer, having paid a premium for such use, will want to maximise the return on their investment. They are likely not only to make the full use of any permission granted, which would go beyond what the Birtwells have done over the past two years, but also to intensify activities seeking retrospective planning permission afterwards if pushed.
This is why, to protect the village, although the Covenants are separate from the planning consent, we need them to be entered into by the Birtwells to limit the activity to what has gone on in the past two years.
The application is to allow 66 people to camp or glamp on a field at the Church end of the village in an AONB. There are only 100 people who live at the Church end of the village. There have hardly, if ever, been 66 people camping over the last two years. Permission for 66 people would create a new base level of activity - much higher than we have had over the last two years, even assuming any new owner limited themselves to that figure.
Compliance with Regulations
It appears that there are facilities that do not currently comply with building regulations or fire regulations.
There have been problems with sewage on the Campsite – how will it cope with so many people?
Litter blowing across the village can also be an issue.
The Change of Access
The Warwickshire Highways Authority is not happy with the current access to the Campsite on the corner of Roman Row. We are all aware that there are large campervans and trailers going in and out on a rather dangerous corner.
The Birtwells propose to move the access along the current Green Lane running between the North end of Roman Row and the Campsite. This will mean that traffic to and from the Campsite will use the Green Lane and that the people living in houses parallel to the Green Lane and the Campsite will be materially affected.
The conservation officer has said that the proposal is likely to result in substantial harm to the environment.
In his report, he said "The main direct harm is the fundamental alteration of this substantial and highly sensitive part of the Conservation Area from having a tranquil, natural and physically undeveloped character and appearance to having a campsite character with all its associated physical impact and range of activities". We should not allow this to happen.
Core Strategy - SDC's guidelines to protect the local environment
The proposals do not comply with SDC's Core Strategy. This is Government Policy and should not be ignored. In its Enforcement Notice, Stratford District Council referred to breaches of:
CS11 - development within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty must conserve and enhance the special landscape qualities and scenic beauty of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It also identifies areas such as Whichford as “tranquil areas” where the minimisation of noise, traffic congestion and light pollution is a priority.
CS8 - seeks to protect and enhance the historic environment of the District and the specific heritage assets that contribute to the character and identity of the District.
AS10 - the Countryside and Villages Policy which allows for a range of activities and development in rural parts of the District provided proposals are thoroughly assessed against the principles of sustainable development including:
Minimising the impact on the character of the local landscape, communities and environmental features.
Minimising impact on the occupiers and users of existing properties in the area.
Avoiding the level of increase in traffic on rural roads that will be harmful to the area.
CS24 - provides that consideration has to be given to the potential for nuisance to be caused by a particular type of activity to other people seeking to enjoy the area.
CS15 – concerns the Distribution of Development within the District and states that development should be restricted to small scale community led schemes which meet a need identified by the local community.