Season set to be extended for coastal caravan sites
- 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.
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.
"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."