Wed, 26 Jul 2017
GREENHAM Parish Council has objected to controversial plans for an extension to a holiday park in the Newbury countryside.
Proposals from The Dream Lodge Group would see the luxury lodges installed on land south of Lower Farm, off Hambridge Lane.
The holiday firm originally submitted plans for 25 lodges, which were granted on appeal in 2015.
However, the new application is now seeking permission to add a further 40 to the site.
People living close to the park have objected to the plans, which they say will have a serious impact on the surrounding area and worry that, if approved, a precedent could be set, leading to more development.
The plans were discussed at a Greenham Parish Council meeting last Wednesday.
Speaking at the meeting, council chairman Julian Swift-Hook said: “The original application for 25 a couple of years ago was approved on appeal.
“We objected, West Berkshire Council objected, but the applicant went to appeal and won it on appeal with no Section 106 requirement, which was the cause of some surprise to the planning officers at the time.”
Vice-chairman Chris Austin said: “Was the counter argument that they paid for the tunnel under the railway originally?
Mr Swift-Hook said: “That may be so, however the planning application was potentially going to generate library users, was going to generate social care demand, education demand, open space demand.
“And the planning inspector who heard the appeal allowed the appeal without any Section 106 money.”
He added: “They are not just holiday homes, they are investment properties as well.
“The owner of the site sells the properties as an investment to individuals who choose to buy them, who then in turn receive a share of income from when the main operating business rents the chalets out.”
Mr Austin said: “I notice a sign that the council [West Berkshire] intends to put a lock barrier halfway through the track so people will have to access the site via Hambridge Lane and won’t be able to come up Burys Bank.”
Councillor Paul Walter proposed that his colleagues object to the plans, saying: “There’s no reason not to be consistent with our original objection. That area is absolutely beautiful.”
Mr Swift-Hook responded: “I can tell you that [Greenham district councillor] Billy Drummond and myself have been lobbied by residents concerned about the existing development, let alone this new increased development.”
Mr Austin declared a personal interest in the matter as his old school friends own 20 per cent of the development rights – and therefore did not take part in the vote.
All the other councillors in attendance voted to object to the plans on the grounds of loss of green space and amenity.