Glamping site approval despite highway safety concerns

Oak Lodge Glamping on Thetford Road, Northwold, has received planning permission for two years

Oak Lodge Glamping on Thetford Road, Northwold, has received planning permission for two years - Credit: Oak Lodge Glamping

A glamping site has been given a temporary two-year reprieve after councillors rejected highway safety concerns. 

Retrospective plans for 19 glamping pitches plus a coffee shop and toilet/wash area at Oak Lodge Glamping on Thetford Road, Northwold, were heard by the West Norfolk Council planning committee on Monday. 

Richard Smith from the county council highways authority told the committee the site was a busy, principal route, despite the speed limit on the road having been reduced from 60 to 50 mph. 

“Ultimately this will generate more traffic at that junction, the junction is not particularly well sighted when you are travelling at speed,” he said. 

The owners have been using the site for glamping since 2016, but the pandemic meant it had become their focus over their events business. 

Entrance to the Oak Lodge Glamping on Thetford Road, Northwold

Entrance to the Oak Lodge Glamping on Thetford Road, Northwold - Credit: Google Street view

Emma Neil, the owner of the site, said: “My original business has had no work for the second year running and we do not envisage it will pick up in the next year or two. 

“We have bills to pay and this is currently our only source of income. It would be disappointing after so many years of hard work to become another statistic and back on benefits.” 

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Councillor Tom Ryves, who called in the application, said the business contributes to the local economy and has positive impacts on the local ecology.  

Councillor Christine Hudson disagreed with the highway assessment, saying traffic had reduced due to the nearby bypass. 

“I’m sure that we in Norfolk are quite reasonable drivers and that you would see someone coming out of that entrance a good five miles down the road,” she said. 

“It’s just one long straight road, it is not as though it is on a corner.” 

West Norfolk council has deferred plans for a Lynn development after councillors were not given enough time to examine them.

Councillors approved the plans with extra conditions - Credit: IAN BURT

Councillor Sandra Squires proposed the site should be allowed with extra conditions to help mitigate safety issues, arguing they should not make a business suffer due to poor driver choices.

Councillors approved the plans for two years, with a six-month limit on usage and set the max number of pitches at 19. 

Speaking after the meeting, Ms Neil said: “I’m pleased that we have got two years but we are not fully there yet." 

Ms Neil said they hoped they would be able to come back in two years for full approval.