Refurbishment, extension and rationalisation of existing layout of Hambrook Holiday Park including demolition of existing clubhouse and storage buildings. Construction of new access roads, laying out of redistributed existing/consented mobile home pitches, creation of green amenity spaces, landscaping together with parking and refuse storage.
Miss Bell presented the items to Members.
The Committee received the following speakers:
Roger Gowlett – Parish Council
Debby Sleven – Objector (statement read)
Eliza Willis – Objector (statement read)
Adrian Moss – Ward Councillor
Mrs Sharp left the meeting.
Miss Bell responded to Members comments and questions. Miss Bell confirmed that many of issues relating to the free-holders were landowner matters and were not material to the planning application. However, the issues had been noted and the Construction and Environment Management Plan (CEMP) within the report included two additional clauses, one to ensure access to the freeholder pitches was available at all times during the construction work and a second to ensure that there is no disruption to the utilities as a result of any construction work. Miss Bell also advised that any actions taken by the applicant to date were outside planning control. Miss Bell explained that once construction had been completed, the access roads would be slightly altered but pedestrian access would be maintained and similarly, landscaping would not impede access. The twelve parking spaces to the front of the site for the free-holders were not affected and there were controls within the conditions to ensure they were not used by others.
With regards to nitrates, Miss Bell explained that officers had been in discussion with Natural England. Natural England had changed the designation of the harbour in February 2019, and therefore it was a necessity to consider the impact of nitrates from any overnight accommodation after this date. The permission for 79 caravans with overnight accommodation was granted in 2016 and the applicant did not seek to increase occupation of the site beyond the existing caravans and those granted in 2016, but to redevelop the site to provide better amenity conditions. As the 2016 permission had been implemented and was extant, there was no requirement to consider the impact of nitrates.
On the matter of whether the site could be closed for a number of months each year to ensure it was restricted to holiday use, Miss Golding advised that in order to close a holiday park for a specific period of time, an appropriate planning reason was required, for example if the land was prone to flooding during winter months. Should a closure take place without a robust planning reason it would be subject to challenge, with the potential to be lost at appeal. Miss Bell also drew Members attention to Conditions 11 and 24 which restricted the use of the site to holiday accommodation only.
With regards to refuse storage and collection, Miss Bell explained that the Environment Health team had queried if there was another option for the location of the bins, but the only other option would be for placement at the front of the site in the recreational area, which was considered to have significant dis-benefits. The bins faced into the park rather than towards neighbouring properties, and the turning space was insufficient for a refuse vehicle to be driven further into the site.
Miss Golding also advised with regards to the right of way, this was a private matter for the free-holders, and this only related to the application in connection with construction. Miss Golding further advised that due to the existence of permitted development rights, demolishing the clubhouse was not an illegal act and similarly retrospective-applications were not illegal.
In response to a request for clarification regarding enforcement activity at the site, Mr Whitty confirmed that enforcement officers had been actively involved on a number of occasions since 2005, and listed successful identifications of breach of condition notices served and illegal use, which had resulted in occupiers having to leave the site. Mr Whitty added that currently, due to Covid-19 restrictions, site visits had been limited. Going forward, updated conditions would provide the requirements for use of the site. Mr Whitty further confirmed that as the number of residents on the site would not increase, this would not impact on nitrates and or emissions to the treatment works. With regards to the separate matter of Southern Water discharging untreated sewage into the harbour or problems in the existing sewage network, that would be a matter for the Environment Agency and Ofwat, respectively.
On a point of clarification in relation to holiday and residential use, Miss Bell drew Members attention to the report which listed the site licences and pitches.
With regards to the demolition of the clubhouse, Miss Bell referred to the 2016 planning permission which allowed the change from touring to static caravans at the eastern end of the site and also works to the frontage of the site which included the demolition of the clubhouse and storage building, and altering that part of the site to a recreational area. The 2016 planning permission did not seek to reconfigure and alter the main part of the site, and had been partially implemented, although not completed, but therefore was extant.
On the matter of the new conditions in relation to the free-holders, Mr Whitty confirmed that the new conditions would not impact on the free-holders, as that area was outside the application site.
Mr Whitty advised that in regards to the motives and behaviour of the applicant, the Members had only heard the views of objectors, on issues which could not be considered as material matters, and Members should not attempt to speculate with regards to potential future concerns. Whilst not condoning breaches of planning control, it was also not unusual for holiday sites to be subject to enforcement action.
Mr Whitty further confirmed that Southern Water had not raised concerns on the matter of sewage. On the suggestion of temporary closures of the site for maintenance, Mr Whitty responded that there was no evidence that maintenance could not be carried out whilst the park was open. On the further suggestion of granting temporary permission and review at a later date, Mr Whitty explained that significant investment would likely be required for the redevelopment of the site and therefore it would be inappropriate to grant temporary consent, adding that conditions would be in place to control the use of the site going forward.
Mr Oakley left the meeting and did not return.
In a vote Members agreed the recommendation.
Recommendation to Permit.