A holiday park has been given permission for up to 51 holiday lodges despite concerns that the development could harm a protected landscape. Mother Ivey’s Bay, near Padstow, had asked for outline permission for the lodges on a field currently used for camping and motorhomes.
The application had attracted objections from the National Trust and the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) unit which both said that the development would harm the protected coastline area. Cornwall Council planning officers had recommended that it should be refused for this reason.
However, the council’s east sub-area planning committee went against their officers’ advice and approved the plans saying that they believed that it would not be a major development in the AONB and that the economic benefits of the proposals would outweigh any harm.
Under the proposals up to 51 holiday lodges would be built on the site, each having a terrace area and two parking spaces
Patrick Langmaid, owner of the holiday park, said: “Cornish legend tells how Mother Ivey fought for her local community as people faced starvation. Today it is another Mother Ivey fighting for the local community.
“Many of you will have heard that Padstow recently acquired a foodbank. Mother Ivey’s Bay is an accredited Living Wage employer, all my employees will be earning at least £13 an hour from April. This planning application is your opportunity to replace seasonal jobs with year-round, well paid jobs.”
Mr Langmaid told councillors that by introducing the holiday lodges the park would be able to cut traffic in the local area as there would be fewer caravans going to the site. He said that the park was also willing to give up the right to use another field closer to the coastal footpath for camping and would instead let it revert to a wild field.
The holiday park owner said that under the plans the lodges would be used for 11 months of the year and said that the park would continue its current policy of not allowing people to sub-let their holiday homes and only use them for personal or family use.
Local Cornwall councillor Stephen Rushworth supported the planning application and said he agreed with Mr Langmaid that it would reduce traffic issues in the local area. He also said that he felt that there was damage to the AONB from caravans in the area and that the proposed development would be more sympathetic.
Committee member John Fitter said he could not support the application: “This Mother Ivey’s Bay is a very special place and I have no hesitation in saying that the applicant has looked after Mother Ivey’s Bay to the best of his ability.”
But Cllr Fitter was concerned about the “creeping permanent development” and said that whilst caravans would come and go from the site the proposed lodges would be there 52 weeks a year.
He said: “I can’t think of anything more damaging to our tourism business if we allow this form of tourism development. We have to resist it. It may be a lovely, lovely thing and people may be delighted to own these places, but this is not the right location for it.”
Cllr Fitter added: “We must put a line in the sand and I commend the officer for her robust and fair assessment. We will not be thanked by people if we go against the strong views of the National Trust and the AONB.”
He proposed that the application should be refused and was seconded by Jennifer Cruse. However, when put to the vote it was lost with three votes in favour and seven against.
Dominic Fairman proposed an alternative resolution that outline planning permission should be granted, subject to conditions.
He said that he had visited the area at the weekend and said that there was already “a lot of commercial development” in the area. Cllr Fairman said that the site “looks like what it is, the back end of a caravan park”.
The Lib Dem councillor said: “I would say that you could enhance that field from what it currently is.” And he added: “ I can see that you could tip the balance of the economic argument against the harm to the landscape.”
Cllr Fairman asked that if approved there should be conditions in place which would try and limit the amount of light pollution from the lodges and some screening in place. He also asked that the park’s offer to relinquish the field nearest the cliff path should also be incorporated.
Independent councillor Adam Paynter agreed saying: “It is very rare that I would disagree with Cllr Fitter but I think this is a balanced application in terms of whether the economic benefits outweigh the harm.”
Cllr Paynter said that AONB was not designed to stop all development and said that the caravan sites in the area were already well screened compared to some areas of coastline in Devon and Cornwall which have large holiday parks.
And Jane Pascoe said that she felt that the proposed lodges would be “much nicer” to look at than caravans and supported the proposal to grant planning permission. The committee agreed to allow planning officers to grant delegated approval once planning conditions had been agreed.