'Divisive' caravan park plans in Shropshire countryside are rejected

‘Divisive’ plans for a caravan park in the north Shropshire countryside have been rejected for a second time.

The land near Hinstock where the caravan site would be. Photo: Google
The land near Hinstock where the caravan site would be. Photo: Google

Shropshire Council’s northern planning committee was split over the application for 10 caravans at Links Holiday Lodges near Hinstock, but voted by six votes to four to refuse permission over concerns around road safety and visual impact.

It follows the refusal of similar application for the same number of caravans on a smaller area of land last year.

There are currently two lodges on the site, though there is planning permission in place for a further three. Under the new proposals these were set to be removed to make way for the caravans. An office unit, open space and a children’s play area would have also featured.

Planning officers had recommended the caravan scheme for approval, saying a refusal on road safety grounds would be difficult to defend if taken to appeal as the application was essentially only proposing five additional units.

But the committee heard that the 24 public objections and a petition signed by 45 households meant “every single” person living in the vicinity of the site opposed the plans.

A statement from Hinstock Parish Council read at the meeting said it was “bizarre” that officers had recommended approval despite refusing the previous application.

It said: “We remain firmly of the opinion that this location is entirely unsuitable for the proposed development.

“The impact on this locality, its residents and its amenity will be entirely out of proportion to any perceived benefit from tourism.”

Traffic

The parish council raised further concerns about noise, light pollution and the increase in traffic along the narrow single-track road the site is accessed from.

The applicants’ agent Jason Kennedy said the caravan park would bring economic benefits to the area.

However, Councillor Rob Gittins, who represents the Cheswardine division which includes Hinstock, said the planning officers who had recommended approval lacked the local knowledge of how dangerous the road was.

He said he was aware of parents having to “throw their children into the hedges” along the lane to prevent them being hit by passing vehicles when walking to and from the village school.

Councillor Rob Gittins said the planning officers who had recommended approval of the plans lacked the local knowledge of how dangerous the road was.

He added: “Nobody wants this. This is completely against community aspirations.

“Please could I ask committee members not to force something onto the local community that is so utterly divisive.”

Economic

A statement was also read from the applicants’ agent, Jason Kennedy, who said the increase in traffic would be “negligible” and that concerns raised by villagers about road safety, noise, ecology and impact on the character of the area were not based on “any evidence”.

He added that the proposed caravan park would bring economic benefits to the area.

Councillor Vince Hunt said he was concerned at the applicants’ landscaping plans which estimated it would take 15 years before the site was sufficiently screened from view.

Councillor Roy Aldcroft said the council’s highways department had submitted a “vague” response which did not formally object to the proposed scheme despite acknowledging that the road was not particularly suitable.

Other members asked how the council could ensure the caravans were being used purely as holiday lets and not as permanent residences, as previous complaints of this nature had been raised about the site when it was under different ownership.

Officers said this could be controlled by planning conditions.

The committee voted by six votes to four to refuse permission.

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