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Old picnic area next to Royal Estate could become caravan site

PUBLISHED: 11:31 14 April 2014 | UPDATED: 11:36 14 April 2014

The former picnic area on the A149 near Dersingham. Picture Matthew Usher.

The former picnic area on the A149 near Dersingham. Picture Matthew Usher.

Archant © 2012 01603 772434

A former picnic area next to the Royal Estate could become a touring caravan site with 52 pitches.

The site, next to the A149 Dersingham bypass near George Pratt Roundabout, has been empty for two years and closed off to the public.

Previously there was a burger bar and toilets, while families could picnic on tables in the trees. Since it closed, the site has been plagued by fly-tippers.

Now an unnamed developer has applied for permission to change the use of the site. Agent Holt Architectural says in a planning statement that it would build a warden’s lodge to ensure there would be 24-hour security on the site, along with a laundry, new toilets and 52 touring pitches.

“The proposal seeks to change the use of the redundant picnic site to a touring caravan and camping facility with associated amenity blocks,” it adds. “The site will be managed and controlled and only pre-booked touring caravan occupants or campers will be able to access the pitches. The remainder of the site area will be open to the general public during daylight hours for use of the picnic and children’s play area.

“Number plate recognition control will allow residents into the relevant caravan and camp site pitch areas. There will also be a warden accommodation adjacent to the principal entrance of the site.”

In its planning application, Holt Architectural states that the site would be landscaped to screen caravans, while new buildings would be timber-clad, to fit in with its woodland setting.

There would also be a reception area, a small shop and three special camping pods for the disabled, along with facilities for wheelchair-bound campers.

It adds: “The proposal will enhance a redundant site that has, in recent years, been subject to illegal occupation and fly-tipping.

“It will provide a facility that is blended well with its existing landscape features, providing links into the existing village and bringing further custom to the local businesses within the area.”

A heritage statement says the site lies close to the Dersingham Bog nature reserve but is not within a conservation area. Archaeologists say there are possible Roman remains nearby.

What do you think? Is this the best use for the former picnic area site on the A149, or can you think of a better one? Write (including full contact details) to Letters Editor, Eastern Daily Press, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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