Campsite scheme rejected for 'harming area of outstanding natural beauty'

A retrospective plan to allow a campsite with 50 pitches and eight glamping pods on pastureland and woodland in the south of Shropshire has been rejected at appeal.

The appeal site
The appeal site

When planning inspector Samuel Watson visited the site at Oaklands, near Ticklerton, in the summer he found tent pitches, log cabins and a shower/toilet block were already there.

The change of use application for the site had been rejected by Shropshire Council and Richard Corfield, who had applied for permission in May 2019, appealed to the Planning Inspectorate against that decision.

Mr Watson concluded that although the scheme would bring some benefits to the area ,which already includes fishing lakes, these would not outweigh the harm to the area of outstanding natural beauty.

"The development, by way of not respecting the rural and open nature of the area, cumulatively harms the special qualities of the AONB to the detriment of its natural and scenic beauty," wrote Mr Watson in his decision letter dated September 8.

"The development would result in tents across the open fields surrounding the fishing lakes where they would be prominent in views and intrusive features within the otherwise open and rural landscape," he said.

"While tents are temporary, it is likely that the site would be busy throughout the warmer months with only very limited time throughout the year where all the pitches are empty.

"Although the log cabins are simple structures and somewhat screened by vegetation, their presence close to the tent pitches would result in a sense of development sprawling across the site which would harm the largely undeveloped nature of the site and its surroundings."

But he did find that tents within woodland "are somewhat natural in appearance and in keeping with their surroundings".

"Moreover, given the dense woodland surrounding them, tents would be screened from the surrounding area and would not be harmful to the natural appearance of the wood or rural character of the area."

There are two wildlife sites in the area, a disused railway line, Acton Scot, and the pool north west of New Hall. He said the scheme had the potential to disturb wildlife and reduce the availability of habitats.

But the applicant had put forward a management plan that he found would be "sufficient to mitigate the limited losses highlighted above and also provide some enhancements over the existing deteriorated state of the LWSs."

Also in the applicant's favour was the good quality of facilities and accommodation.

But he concluded that the benefits of the scheme were not outweighed by the harm it would do to the area, and dismissed the appeal.

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