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Anger over breach of planning conditions at holiday park

Neighbours say council should be doing more to enforce rules

Dan Cooper

Reporter:

Dan Cooper

Contact:

01635 886632

Neighbours object to holiday park plans

WEST Berkshire Council has come under fire for failing to properly enforce planning conditions imposed on a Newbury holiday park.

Neighbouring residents say the operator of The Sanctuary Holiday Park at Lower Farm, off Hambridge Lane, has failed to make the required improvements to the site’s access before the park was brought into use.

A number of conditions were imposed on the development, including the installation of traffic signals and warning signs at the railway bridge on Hambridge Lane, to improve pedestrian safety.

Neighbours are furious that some chalets are now being occupied with the work yet to be carried out.

Resident at nearby Pigeon Farm, Frank Chitty, said: “The council has known about this for about four or five weeks. I don’t know why they can’t take action.

“I’m surprised they haven’t done anything.

“I know there’s politics involved, but to me it’s clearly a breach of the conditions that the inspector saw fit to apply.

“I don’t know why they are letting them get away with it.”

The plans for the 25-chalet holiday park were approved by a planning inspector on appeal in 2014, after West Berkshire Council had turned the application down with highway safety cited as a concern.

As well as the access improvements, the inspector added a number of other conditions, including that the lodges must only be occupied for the purposes of holiday accommodation and not used as a permanent residences.

Since his decision, plans to add a further 40 chalets to the site have been submitted by park operator Dream Lodge Group.

And residents are fearful that the council’s lack of enforcement on existing conditions may allow the operator to get away with similar breaches in the future.

Mr Chitty added: “If they don’t enforce this, then what does it mean for the new plans?

“There’s going to be a significant increase in the number of cars using that road.

“How are they going to police that they aren’t occupied for the full year?”

West Berkshire Council spokeswoman Peta Stoddart-Crompton said: “Planning enforcement is aware that there are ongoing breaches of planning control at Lower Farm relating to non-compliance with certain planning conditions.

“These important matters are being addressed by officers, who have written to those responsible for the development works with the intention of resolving these issues as soon as possible.”

The Dream Lodge Group earned a rap on the knuckles from North Norfolk District Council last year after it installed six two-tonne gas tanks and built a gym, a nail salon and walls and gates on its Norfolk Park Homes site without seeking planning permission.

The Dream Lodge Group was approached for a comment by the Newbury Weekly News, but had not replied before the paper went to press.

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