Shropshire Star

Bid to double number of caravan pitches at remote Shropshire location is refused

Plans to double the number of caravan pitches in a remote Shropshire location have been refused by a council, despite local support.

The Royal Oak

The owners of The Royal Oak in Alveley wanted to increase the pitches for touring caravans and motor homes on their adjacent land from five to 10. The applicant also wanted to build an "amenity building" including a reception area, office, laundry facilities, showers and toilets.

The site, which is licensed for tourism and leisure, also has a barn conversion which has been converted into two holiday lets with parking.

“The site is currently established and being continually used throughout the year with a constant demand for more pitches,” said the applicant in their design and access statement.

“The proposal is to support demand, improve existing facilities to include providing a well-maintained site, and maintain openness in this Green Belt location.

“It is generally well accepted that the proposal to improve the existing facilities along with generally improved pitch facilities will have no detrimental effect on the Green Belt.”

The application received 17 letters of support and no objections. Villagers voicing their support of the site said it supported the local economy and attracted tourists to the area.

However, Shropshire Council has refused the application with case officer Sara Jones stating that the benefits would be outweighed by the ‘harm’ to the openness of the Green Belt.

She concluded: “Whilst it is acknowledged that the proposed development would contribute to the rural economy and to the role of Shropshire as a tourist destination to stay by improving the facilities on the existing certified site and providing additional touring caravan/motor home pitches, these benefits would be very modest and would be outweighed by the harm to the openness of the Green Belt stemming from the intensification of the use, increased activity and the additional built form and associated paraphernalia, harm to the undeveloped character and appearance of the area and resultant encroachment of the countryside.

"In this case there are no very special circumstances of sufficient weight to outweigh the harm identified.”

The planning officer acknowledged support received of the application and that proposals would support local businesses.

“However, it is not compelling that the proposal would result in substantial or sustained offsite benefits to the wider community and the harm identified is not outweighed by the limited benefits to the rural tourism economy which would stem from the improved facilities and provision of additional touring caravan pitches on this site,” the planning officer added.

“Indeed, the proposed amenity building would appear to involve a significant investment for a relatively modest touring caravan site, which if approved would provide a maximum of 10 pitches.”