Season set to be extended for coastal caravan sites

Heacham caravans

Caravan site owners along the Norfolk coast want to be able to open beyond their usual season to help make up for revenues lost during lockdown - Credit: Chris Bishop

Hundreds of coastal caravans look set to be allowed an extended season - despite fears over flood risk.

The owners of four sites in Heacham and Hunstanton have applied to extend their season for a temporary period of two years to help offset losses caused by lockdown.

Occupancy would normally be allowed from March 1 or 20, to October 31 at Heacham Holidays' North Beach, Putting Green and Riverside parks because of the greater risk from flooding during the winter months.

The firm has applied to extend its season from March 6 - January 6 the following year.

Heacham caravans

The Putting Green site at Heacham North Beach is one of four which have applied to extend their season - Credit: Chris Bishop

Searles of Hunstanton, where different areas have different restrictions, has applied for them to be waived until December 31, 2022.

West Norfolk's panning committee has been recommended to approve all four applications when it meets on Monday.

But a report to councillors warns: "The key issue to be considered is that this extends the holiday season into the period of highest flood risk."

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Heacham Parish Council has objected on grounds of flood risk.

It states: The seasonal restrictions have been in place for many years based on lower figures. The risk is now much greater, making less sense than ever for this change.

Evacuation notices have been issued at caravan sites and coastal properties in Snettisham, Heacham a

Flood warnings are sometimes issued for coastal caravan sites during the winter. An evacuation was ordered before the 2013 storm surge. - Credit: Chris Bishop

"If an extension to the season goes through at this time, then there will be fewer grounds for argument next year and in subsequent years. These greater risks may endanger lives. Due to Global Warming water levels throughout the country are rising and unpredictable flooding is occurring, so we should be very cautious about the wisdom of dismissing the rules we have in place."

The report to councillors states the Environment Agency has not objected.Government advice says councils should not "unnecessarily restrict" site owners' ability to extend their season.

Responses received by the council weigh slightly in favour of allowing the change. One states: "Caravan owners are fully aware of the flood risk issues, and it’s their decision."

Another adds: "I find it very surprising that a local authority can determine how many weeks per year I can use my static caravan that I have invested many thousands of pounds to enjoy my recreational time."