Objections over plan to replace half of golf course near Oswestry with a caravan park

Plans to create a 120-pitch static caravan park at a village golf course near Oswestry have met with opposition from nearby residents, businesses and conservation groups.

The caravan site would affect Henlle Park Golf Club
The caravan site would affect Henlle Park Golf Club

Under plans lodged earlier this summer, Henlle Park Golf Club in Gobowen is set to halve in size from 18 holes to nine to accommodate the new holiday complex.

But the proposals have so far received objections from more than 120 members of the public and heritage groups including the Woodland Trust, Georgian Group, Oswestry and District Civic Society and Shropshire Parks and Gardens Trust.

Concerns have been raised over the loss of the historic parkland setting – which is classified as a non-designated heritage asset – and the impact the development would have on the Grade II-listed Henlle Hall and three nearby sections of Wat’s Dyke which are scheduled monuments.

The civic society said: “The applicant’s assertion that a separation between vans of eight metres rather than the minimum of six metres represents a high standard of development is nonsense.

“It is not for the society to say what would constitute a good standard of development. What we are convinced of is that the caravans themselves are not a structure which show any quality in their design.

“Cumulatively they will never be anything but an eyesore, unless the site is sufficiently well landscaped to break up the cumulative effect, in all probability by allocating each van or pair of vans to its own individually screened location.”

The civic society and Shropshire Parks and Gardens Trust criticised the applicant’s heritage assessment, labelling it “inadequate”.

Selattyn and Gobowen Parish Council has objected to the scheme, along with Shropshire Council’s historic environment department.

Infrastructure

The parish council said: “The proposal would result in increased risk to pedestrians, cyclists and vehicle users due to the unsuitability of local roads in relation to the increased volume of traffic.

“The number of units proposed is out of scale with the ability of the local community and infrastructure, which would require significant investment, which is not included in the application.

“The total number of caravans proposed is too high for the capacity of local services and facilities to support. Drainage and flooding risks have not been properly addressed.

“The proposals, if put into effect, would remove much-needed natural habitat, the parkland is a much-appreciated landscape and detrimentally impact on the environment and local wildlife.”

The trustees of Henlle Park Graveyard have also written to the council to oppose the development, as have the owners of nearby businesses including Henlle Hall holiday lodges and the Lion Quays hotel and spa.

Other consultees, including Highways England, the Environment Agency, Natural England, offered no objection to the plans. Historic England did not formally object but said it “has concerns regarding the application on heritage grounds”.

The planning application will be decided in due course by Shropshire Council.

The golf cub owner, Ralph Tomley, said the caravan park would be managed by a national operator from the existing clubhouse, where guests would also use the restaurant and bar.

It is proposed to construct the holiday park in place of holes 10 to 18, leaving holes one to nine unaffected.

The club opened in 2003 and currently has a membership of around 375, down from around 600 when it first opened. With four other golf clubs less than 10 miles away, Mr Tomley said the loss of nine holes “is not going to cause a significant reduction in the provision of golfing facilities in the locality”.

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