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Planning application to extend Percy Wood caravan site to Swarland rejected by Northumberland councilors UK News

Councilors have rejected controversial plans to further expand a large caravan park in north Northumberland, going against recommendations made by planning officers.

The decision brings a two-year battle between Swarland villagers and the owners of Percy Wood Golf and Country Retreat to a head over plans to introduce more than 60 static caravans to the site, bringing the total number to more than 400. At Thursday’s meeting of the North Northumberland Local Area Council, the request was unanimously rejected by councillors, although one member – Councilor Jeff Watson – abstained from voting.

A total of 87 objections to the plan were received from local residents after it was submitted two years ago.

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Speaking at the meeting, Application Officer Harvey Emms told councilors he appreciated the residents’ concern but that there was ‘no justifiable planning reason to reject the application. “. He added: “The statutory consultees have no objections.”

But local resident Jackie Stent highlighted villagers’ concerns, saying they believed the site would tax the village and put a strain on services, particularly drainage and sewers.

She said: “Drainage, sewage and flooding is a huge problem in Swarland. Last year a woman’s garden was flooded with sewage. The risk of flooding associated with extra caravans is high .”

Parish councilor Susanne Stanley added: ‘Sewage discharge is likely to be exacerbated by increased demand.’

Their concerns were echoed by Councilor Trevor Thorne, who represents the ward of Shilbottle on Northumberland County Council which encompasses Swarland. Earl Thorne proposed that the committee reject the plans on the grounds of negative impact on visual amenity, but also raised concerns about pressure on local services.

He said: “Percy Wood was a lovely place in the 90s but has become the biggest caravan site. It’s a village of two villages – the houses down and up the hill, the caravan park .

“Four hundred houses that need water, electricity and sewage. It’s a big big anthrax. We are bringing them closer and closer to the village.

“In short, that means we’ll have people who want to come to Swarland to let loose, they want to get into a hot tub and they won’t think about the residents.

“It’s always hard to say when it’s big enough. I’m worried about the future – there’s a lot of other land.”

But councilor Jeff Watson feared there was little planning right to deny the request.

He said: “I’m just wondering – it’s a planning committee. It seems to depend on what’s allowed on the planning rules, and I don’t see an awful lot of things that are considered planning rules. I know some people don’t like caravans – some people like them, some people think they are entitled to a view and we know they are not.

“I may be a voice in the desert, but we have to keep these points in mind when making this important decision.”

The head of the council’s development department, Elizabeth Sinnamon, also warned members that all of the council’s planning policies supported the claim, on the grounds that it would boost tourism. Despite this, councilors rejected the agents’ recommendations and refused planning permission.

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