Norfolk couple want to share the land beside their mill with campers

Steve and Elly Chalmers have put in a planning application to extend the workshops at Bircham Windmi

Steve and Elly Chalmers have applied for planning permission for a permanent campsite at Bircham Windmill, near King's Lynn - Credit: Ian Burt

One of Norfolk's last surviving windmills could soon have a permanent campsite.

Seasonal pitches which do not need planning permission have been offered at Bircham Windmill at Great Bircham, near King's Lynn, for the last five years.

Now Stevie and Elly Chalmers, who have run the heritage attraction for 20 years, have applied to operate a permanent site.

The couple have applied to site 45 pitches, 35 for tents and 10 for tents or small campervans, on an eight-acre pasture beside the mill on Snettisham Road. They have also applied to put up an amenity building housing showers, toilets and washing up area.

In a planning statement, the Chalmers say that after five years of running a seasonal site they are over-subscribed.

"The proposal would help meet the need for more pitches nearby," they add. "It would bring increased revenue for the applicant, helping to sustain their business and have the knock-on effect of increasing revenue to the area, with visitors using local pubs and shops as well as Bircham Windmill."

From October to March, the land would be used for grazing sheep. The statement adds: "The applicants would like to leave the site as wild as possible and are looking to plant small copses of oak trees and put in some parkland trees."

Bread festival at (pictured) Bircham Windmill. PHOTO: IAN BURTCOPY:Annabelle DicksonFOR:EDP Ne

Pitches would be sited on an eight-acre pasture next to Bircham Windmill - Credit: Ian Burt

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The statement says the applicants appreciate the site will have an impact on properties adjoining the field and wish to mitigate this as much as possible.

One neighbour has expressed concern about noise, smoke and barbecue smells, so families will be sited away from their boundary as larger groups are more likely to have campfires and barbecues. The site will also have a no-music policy.

The Chalmers say the site was fully booked as soon as it opened for the start of its permitted 56 days this year, as families sought to escape the pandemic.

"The applicants want to share their land with people," the statement adds. "It was lovely to see it being used and enjoyed by so many this summer."

West Norfolk council's planning committee is expected to decide the application in the New Year.

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