New site for crumbling caravan park in Happisburgh set for planning refusal

Chris Lomax, owner of Manor Caravan Park, Happisburgh.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY Chris Lomax, owner of Manor Caravan Park, Happisburgh. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Tuesday, April 15, 2014
11:41 AM

A family business in Happisburgh could crumble away after plans for it to move inland, away from coastal erosion, have been recommended for refusal.

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The owner of Happisburgh Caravan Park, Chris Lomax, had applied to move the site inland to safer ground in the village.

But amid objections from English Heritage, surrounding homeowners and a neighbouring school, the application has been recommended for refusal when it goes before planners at North Norfolk District Council today.

Mr Lomax, whose family has owned the park for more than 45 years, said the business was the village’s financial driver and kept facilities open.

He said: “I am desperately disappointed it has been recommended for refusal. It is a conservation issue.”

Mr Lomax said he would wait until after the final decision to comment further.

A report to today’s meeting says the impact of the proposed scheme would result in significant harm to the setting of Happisburgh Conservation Area, the wider landscape and listed buildings.

Letters of objection raised concerns that the scale and design of the development would not be in keeping with the area and would destroy the character of the village.

Other objections said there could have been better alternative sites, and the economic benefits for the village would have been small.

A letter from the caravan park owner said: “The move of site is not something we wish to see but is being forced on us by circumstances beyond our control.”

He also said the site had co-existed peacefully with the village for 50 years.

The application received 48 letters of objection and 11 letters of support.

Mr Lomax had submitted amended plans to North Norfolk District Council for an 19-acre (eight hectares) site on farmland south of North Walsham Road behind Happisburgh Primary School.

It would have featured 134 static caravans, 60 touring caravans and a camping area. A previous plan had been withdrawn and the new one had revised access.

The cliff-edge caravan park was permitted to apply for planning permission for a new site through the council’s rollback policy, aimed to help those whose homes and businesses are suffering from coastal erosion.

1 comment

  • Greg Peachey FREdome Visionary Trust and myself put forward a plan to stabilise cliffs along the East coast, at a meeting with locals in Happisburgh Community Hall, by bringing cliffs down to a 30 degree slope, protecting the toe of the slope with stainless steel gabions and involve the public in planting the landscaped cliffs with salt tolerant trees, to provide a natural living coastal woodland sea defence. Recent storms have uncovered petrified coastal forests along the coast of Wales and Cornwall, still anchored by their roots into the soil in which they once grew. The petrified trunks and roots are estimated to be around 5 thousand years old. This is exactly how nature would deal with the problem of coastal erosion if left to it's own devices. In Japan, following the 30 meter Tsunami which bulldozed away massive concrete sea defenses. Yet coastal forests stood firm capturing debris and saving the lives of people who clung to them. Concrete structures fail because soft sand is stripped away by waves, undermine ridged structures. Trees are flexible and grow stronger with age. Their roots provide structure to soft soils much the same as gabions provide protection when filled with stones. The question is not what do we have to lose but how much more will be lost if we do nothing to arrest coastal erosion?

    Coastal forest Survived Japan's Tsunami

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Andrew Fletcher

    Thursday, April 17, 2014

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