9:20am Tuesday 14th February 2012
TEST Valley councillors have agreed to modify a legal agreement covering the use of a Sherfield English caravan park.
DHI Ltd, the owners of Hill Farm Caravan Park off Branches Lane, asked planners to roll four existing agreements into one and the borough’s southern area committee has given the proposal the thumbs up.
But, the application didn’t go down well with neighbours who wrote to the council objecting to the proposals.
The council received 12 letters opposing the scheme and one warned “unless something is done soon Sherfield English will have its own Butlins” holiday camp.
Many objectors claimed existing planning conditions had been broken and were worried the proposals could lead to further expansion at the site and more noise.
However, planning officer, Mark Wyatt said the application was to only seeking to “consolidate” historic legal agreements by having a single one for the whole site.
He also pointed out that the applicant plans to merge two areas of the site known as The Pines and Hawthorns to form a new touring park with 100 camping pitches operating from March 1 to October 31.
The Holiday Park, which has eight permanent caravans on the site, will remain solely for tourist accommodation under the new agreement.
The number of caravans allowed to be kept in the storage area of the site will remain at 50. Borough planners received five letters supporting the proposals, including one which claimed the site provided employment and brought trade to the village pub and shop.
Mr Wyatt said as a result of the application, there would be a “reduced number of pitches” rather than an “intensification” of the site as some objectors had claimed.
Debating the application Blackwater ward member Tony Gentle suggested a close eye should be kept on the site to ensure the permitted number of caravans and tents are not exceeded.
Mr Gentle said: “Can we make sure these figures don’t balloon?”
Romsey Extra ward member Ian Hibberd backed the proposals.
He said: “I visited the site last year and the impression that I got was that it was well run and I see no reason to object to the application. It’s not going to have an impact on anybody.”
Mr G Billet who spoke on behalf of the applicant said it was a relatively small business with two full-time staff.
He said: “Rather than becoming a Butlins, it’s the reverse because we are lowering the number of camping pitches on the site and we openly discourage teenagers at the site.”
The number of pitches will be reduced by 20 to 143 on the 4.98 hectare site.
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