Glamping pods rejected due to impact on Norfolk beauty spot
- Credit: Planning documents
Plans to install four extra glamping pods in a picturesque part of the Norfolk countryside have been rejected by councillors, despite no objections being raised by locals.
The upmarket camping accommodation would have been placed close to an existing campsite on Shrublands Farm, just south of Northrepps, in an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) - a space designated for conservation by Natural England.
Glamping has massively increased in popularity in recent years, with demand - alongside camping and self-catering holidays - outstripping hotels and bed and breakfasts, according to north Norfolk tourist operators.
Farmers and landowners are increasingly considering creating such facilities on their land as a way to diversify their businesses and find new sources of income.
But Colin Reuben, North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) officer, said the Northrepps proposal would impact AONB features "such as tranquillity, dark skies and local landscape character".
Speaking to Wednesday morning's NNDC development committee meeting, Alistair Mackay from Northrepps Parish council stressed there had been no objections from locals to the plans.
He said objections from Norfolk County Council's highways department were "getting carried away with the narrowness" of the roads. He added that it was a rural area that had managed to support a turkey processing plant and associated lorries until 15 years ago.
The applicant, Jeremy Youngman, told the committee the glamping pods would be high quality and affordable accommodation.
He said: "The proposal is a small scale development on my campsite which will add a lot of value to our business and it is vital for our continued survival post-Brexit and post-farming subsidies."
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A representative for Mr Youngman added that the site has been in continuous use for more than 30 years and they are not an additional use but an extension of what is already there.
She said the site would bring three part-time jobs for local people to service the pods.
The pods would have been 7.2 metres long, 3.3 metres wide and 2.8 metres high.
The farm already operates two glamping pods, two shepherd's huts and an area for caravans nearby.
While councillors sympathised with the farmer's need to diversify several raised concerns about the scheme involving being permanent structures in the AONB.
Councillors voted to reject the application. Six voted against, with one in favour.
A council officer agreed to speak with the applicants to discuss what measures could be put in place to make it work.
He said: "The aim is to assist this local business and try to bring forward a positive outcome.
"Unfortunately today we have not been able to support the current proposal."