Plans for campsite accommodation in Gressenhall refused at planning meeting despite support

PUBLISHED: 15:56 01 October 2018 | UPDATED: 10:07 02 October 2018

An application for a camping area on a large field in Gressenhall has been refused. Picture: Ian Burt

An application for a camping area on a large field in Gressenhall has been refused. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

Much debated plans for a new tourist campsite accommodation site in Gressenhall, near Dereham were refused at Breckland Council’s Planning Commitee meeting on Monday.

The proposals for the campsite on land known as Church Farm, which includes shepherds huts, disabled camping pods and bathroom and shower blocks, have divided opinion with 110 responses submitted in support of the plans and 67 submitted against.

Planning permission was refused at the meeting following planning officer Fiona Hunter’s recommendation due to concerns over the impact of the supporting house, which would include a reception area, on the countryside.

The application was put forward by Amanda Wilcox and planning agent Scott Brown said during the meeting: “Of the 67 objections submitted only 23 are local. These objections have been orchestrated to reflect badly on the application. This also relates back to the very poor handling of the application by the parish council.

“The majority of this site and the buildings proposed cannot be seen from what is being called the open countryside. It is a unique proposal which will provide a facility that is not found elsewhere in the area.

“The local scout group have already expressed an interest if permission was to be granted.”

However, Mark Thompson, a planning agent speaking on behalf of residents opposed to the plans, said: “A dwelling was already refused on this site and dismissed at appeal. The proposal does not meet key criteria.

“Given the need to justify the proposal, this application must be refused.”

Breckland councillor Richard Duffield, who lives in and represents the Gressenhall parish, also said: “The majority of the supporters, some live in Kent, some in Mattishall, others in Dereham. The main objectors all live within the village.

“I understand the family want to get back into the village but there has been land and property for sale that they could have purchased.”

The chairman of the Planning Commitee however pointed out that he did not want where the responses of support and objection had come from to determine the committee’s decision.

The plans were refused by a vote of six to three.

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