Enforcement threat over rubble placed in gateway in Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

enforcement Burnham Norton

A landowner is being threatened with enforcement action over hard-core which has been placed in a gateway off the A149 coast road at Burnham Norton - Credit: Chris Bishop

A council looks set to take enforcement action to remove rubble put down in a gateway in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Nigel Marsh said in a retrospective planning application he wanted to improve access to land he owns at Burnham Norton, near Hunstanton, which has previously been at the centre of a row over plans for a campsite.

West Norfolk council served an injunction on Mr Marsh in the summer, to stop him using the five-acre field next to the A149 at Burnham Norton, for camping.

Nigel Marsh, Burnham Overy

Nigel Marsh, who is creating a new campsite which he hopes will help tourists connect with nature - Credit: Chris Bishop

Mr Marsh said it left him "unable to even cut the grass" on his land. He added he would sell the site after the injunction was confirmed by the high court.

Now West Norfolk council's planning committee has been recommended to refuse a retrospective application to make access improvements, including laying hard-core at the entrance to the land. Officers are also recommending enforcement action to remove the hard-core.

A planning report says Burnham Norton Parish Council has objected to the "new and unsightly access" which would detract from the landscape.

Burnham Norton enforcement

Hard-core in a gateway off the A149 coast road at Burnham Norton - Credit: Chris Bishop

The RSPB is also among the objectors, stating: "The RSPB is very concerned about the impact that this and any future planning proposals, such as camping and any associated facilities at this site, will have on sensitive wildlife in the area as a result of habitat destruction and species disturbance.

"Protected species using the area or within close proximity include breeding bittern and roosting marsh harrier."

Natural England says it fears that if it is allowed to remain, the hard-core "could facilitate an intensification of use at a later date".

Burnham Norton campsite

The water meadow at Burnham Norton, which will be used as a campsite for 56 days of the year - Credit: Chris Bishop

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And a further 75 objections have been received, on grounds including "widespread local opposition to the use of the land as a campsite".

The report to councillors adds: "The nature and scale of the large area of fencing, gate and extensive area of hard-core proposed, would not conserve the overall isolated and rural nature of the landscape, nor conserve the open nature of the locality or the overall strong sense of tranquility and remoteness in that area.

Burnham Norton campsite

A view across part of the water meadow at Burnham Norton - Credit: Chris Bishop

"The proposal would therefore represent an incongruous addition to the locality harming the special character of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside."

 West Norfolk's planning committee will decide the application when it meets on Monday, January 10.

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