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Tents battle over as Broads business is told yurts do not need planning permission

PUBLISHED: 16:13 02 October 2017

James Knight from Waveney River Centre is in dispute with the Broads Authority over Yurts that have been installed at the camp site.
Picture: Nick Butcher

James Knight from Waveney River Centre is in dispute with the Broads Authority over Yurts that have been installed at the camp site. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

It has been a tents battle to answer a complex question: When is a yurt a permanent structure?

James Knight from Waveney River Centre is in dispute with the Broads Authority over Yurts that have been installed at the camp site.
Picture: Nick Butcher James Knight from Waveney River Centre is in dispute with the Broads Authority over Yurts that have been installed at the camp site. Picture: Nick Butcher

Now, finally, it has been resolved, after a Broads holiday business was told the three Mongolian-style tents in its campsite did not need planning permission.

A long saga ended in the wake of visit by Broads Authority planning officers to Waveney River Centre, where they inspected the yurts.

Soon after the visit, the centre’s managing director James Knight got a letter saying the yurts were ok to stay.

A spokesman for the authority said: “Following the site visit where planning officers were finally able to obtain all the information required, we have been able to determine that the installation of the yurts and their associated platforms do not constitute ‘operational development’ and therefore do not require planning permission.

James Knight from Waveney River Centre is in dispute with the Broads Authority over Yurts that have been installed at the camp site.
Picture: Nick Butcher James Knight from Waveney River Centre is in dispute with the Broads Authority over Yurts that have been installed at the camp site. Picture: Nick Butcher

“It is frustrating that the owners of the centre declined to answer questions previously requested by the planning officers which would have negated the need for a site visit and led to an earlier conclusion.”

Mr Knight came in for criticism during a recent planning committee meeting for failing to answer a list of questions about the three yurts, stating he already had planning permission for the campsite at Burgh St Peter, Beccles, and they were covered by that.

The yurts are fixed to wooden platforms and connected to electricity and equipped with woodburning stoves, beds and other furniture. An authority report on the matter had stated: “By virtue of the raised timber platforms, their fixing to the platforms, scale and likely presence on site for the greater part of the year, these are considered to be operational development and thus require planning permission.”

Mr Knight said that at no time did he refuse to answer the questions.

James Knight from Waveney River Centre is in dispute with the Broads Authority over Yurts that have been installed at the camp site.
Picture: Nick Butcher James Knight from Waveney River Centre is in dispute with the Broads Authority over Yurts that have been installed at the camp site. Picture: Nick Butcher

“I just asked what they were going to do with the answers to the questions as many of which weren’t related to planning. They refused to tell me.”

He said: “They had inspected the yurts inside and out so they knew the scale, the permanence and that the platforms were not fixed right from day one.

“Why did their officers assert that this was operational development when they first looked at the tents?”

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