Demolition of camp buildings and siting of 25 static caravan pitches and a manager’s dwelling and site reception.
Demolition of camp buildings and siting of 25 static caravan pitches and manager’s dwelling and site reception at Leeds Children’s Holiday Camp, Far Arnside, Silverdale (Mr M Holgate)
Note – Councillor Pete McSweeney declared a non-pecuniary interest in this item of business by virtue of his position as an Executive Board Member of Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Beauty Partnership (AONB). He had also owned a static caravan at Holgates Caravan Park, Silverdale, from 1985 to 1995. Councillor McSweeney made a verbal representation under the Council’s Public Participation Scheme, but left the meeting during discussion and voting on this item.
The Planning Officer presented the application and displayed plans and photographs which detailed the proposals and referred to the site visit.
Members’ attention was drawn to the late representations which had been circulated prior to the meeting and the addition of a further condition, should the application be approved:
Condition No development shall commence for 21 days after the date of this decision.
Reason To comply with the Wildlife and Countryside Act s.28(i)(6).
Mrs A Turnbull spoke in opposition to the application. She informed the Committee that she supported the views of Arnside and Silverdale AONB as stated in the report and that these views should not be ignored. She stated that 25 static caravans would have no aesthetic merit when compared to the existing buildings. She highlighted her concerns regarding drainage issues, particularly with regard to filtration onto the shore which was a Site of Special Scientific Interest. She also referred to the pre-application correspondence from the Planning Officer which had advised that the application would not be supported at that time.
Ms L Barron, the manager of Arnside and Silverdale AONB, informed the Members that the status of an AONB was equal to that of National Parks. She stated that the proposal was a major development and therefore under paragraph 116 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), the application should be refused. In addition she referred to paragraph 115 of the NPPF which stated that great weight should be given to conserving landscapes which had the highest level of protection. The application was in direct conflict with Core Strategy Policy CS1.1 which the report had not properly considered. This application was a new site and not an extension of the existing site. Policies T5 and CS8.2 contained policies to protect the landscape and the AONB.
Mrs Fisher, spoke briefly to confirm she had nothing further to add and that she supported what had been said by the previous speakers.
Ms A Kitchen spoke regarding the creation of the English Coastal path and suggested that provision of a footpath through the site should be a condition. She highlighted concerns regarding light pollution and the impact on wildlife on the mudflats.
Mr S Gibbs informed the Committee that he had been a resident of Silverdale for 17 years. He proposed that there should be no further static caravan sites within the Arnside and Silverdale AONB and that the existing static caravans were putting pressure on the environment. He also expressed the view that the development was contrary to Policy T5. He stated that he welcomed tourists but had concerns that there was a lack of diversity in the tourist accommodation offered and that there should be more focus on lower impact tourist accommodation such as tented camping.
Ms R Lord stated that she felt that the proposal was a major development and the scale, context and character was not comparable with the existing site. In addition the siting of additional static caravans in the AONB was contrary to Policy T5. In addition the development did not support the Policy to protect the intrinsic beauty of the countryside.
Councillor P McSweeney addressed the Committee. He stated that as Ward Councillor he had been approached by many residents, very few had been in support of the application. He accepted that the site should be redeveloped but that the applicant should consider a more suitable way to develop the site. He urged the Committee to refuse the application on the grounds that it was within the Arnside and Silverdale AONB.
Mr Tait, the applicant’s agent, addressed the Committee. He stated that the proposed application was better than what was currently on the site and that the existing building had been considered by the Conservation Officer as having no specific value. He explained that the development would be of a more muted colour and development would break up the scale of bulk of the existing development which would blend in with the landscape. In addition there would be significant landscape and ecological improvements. He stated that it was not a major development.
Mr M Holgate, the applicant, addressed the Committee and stated that he had been in consultation with regard to the coastal path. In addition he highlighted the increase in local employment and the potential visitor spend. He also expressed his view that the existing buildings already caused significant light pollution and the proposal was likely to improve the level of light pollution from the site.
In further presenting the report the Planning Officer explained that the scale of the development proposed was comparable to the existing site and was not a major development. She explained that the applicant had been advised that the initial application had not been acceptable as the development had a wider spread of caravans and no landscape enhancement had been proposed. She confirmed that the level of landscaping would be a continuation of the existing woodland and she displayed indicative landscape visuals.
Members gave consideration to the impact of the development on the AONB in particular the landscape, ecology and size of the development.
REFUSE for the reasons set out below:-
The cumulative impact of static caravan development in this location, due to its layout, density and appearance will cause significant adverse impacts to the conservation of the landscape character of the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty contrary to Saved Policy T5 and the Draft Policy AS012 of the Draft AONB DPD.
Note – The Committee voted to adjourn for a break at 11.48 a.m. and reconvened at 12.01 p.m. when the same Members were present with the exception of Councillor Gill Gardner.