Wigwams approved - but villagers feel 'overpowered' by tourist industry

A Burgh Castle farm and fishery is bidding to join the Wigwam Holidays' franchise which operates gl

A Burgh Castle farm and fishery is bidding to join the Wigwam Holidays' franchise which operates glamping pods like these at some 80 countryside locations across the UK Picture: Wigwam Holidays www.wigwamholidays,com - Credit: Archant

A bid for 12 lakeside cabins between two Norfolk parishes has been approved by councillors, despite villagers feeling "overloaded and overpowered" by the tourist industry.

An application to build 11 standard entry wigwams and one disabled-access wigwam at Oak Park Farm and its fishery in Burgh Castle was discussed at Great Yarmouth Borough Council's Development Control Committee meeting on Wednesday.

Planning officer Rob Tate revealed that businesses and locals were split evenly over the bid - with 12 villagers decrying the plans and 12 business owners in full favour.

GYBC Zoom Meeting

The development control meeting took place on Wednesday, January 13 - Credit: GYBC

He said some of the concerns raised related to traffic on nearby Mill Road, the proliferation of tourist accommodation in the area, the risk to horses on neighbouring fields and potential threats to wildlife.

Highways, Natural England and the county ecologist offered no objections to the plans, though both Burgh Castle and Belton Parish Council did.

Brian Swan, chairman of Burgh Castle parish council, said his main fear was Burgh Castle and Bradwell eventually "joining into one another".

Speaking at the meeting, he said: "There's a council policy which explicitly says that Belton can't join Bradwell, so why isn't there a similar one saying Burgh Castle can't join Bradwell?

"Do we really need more tourist accommodation in a village already overloaded and overpowered with it?"

Addressing the issue of wildlife, he added: "All of these developments have an adverse affect on wildlife, I don't care what anybody says."

A farm diversification and retirement project could see a string of Wigwam cabins sited by the lake

A farm diversification and retirement project could see a string of Wigwam cabins sited by the lake at Hall Farm Fishery in Burgh Castle Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Archant

Adrian Myers, borough councillor for the ward, also said he was troubled by the lack of safety barriers in place between the cabins and the lake, with children in particular at risk of falling in.

Trevor Wainwright, however, dismissed these concerns as something which are not unique to the site.

"It's not a reason to turn down an application", he said.

"I think personally this is a great application.

"A lot of businesses will gain from this.

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"These types of pods are going up all over the country, and with Covid we need this type of accommodation.

"The parish council's objection is that this will link Bradwell and Belton, but this is not a house building exercise."

Trevor Wainwright, leader of the Labour group in Great Yarmouth. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

Trevor Wainwright, leader of the Labour group in Great Yarmouth, said the plans were "exactly what the borough needs! - Credit: Archant

The plans were passed, with Adrian Myers abstaining.

In accordance with the developer's wishes, councillors agreed the site would be closed only for January 4 until February 7 each year.

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