Lowestoft caravan park told to remove extension by planning inspector
- Credit: Mick Howes
A caravan park has been ordered to remove an unauthorised extension on council-owned land by the government's planning inspector.
In May 2019, East Suffolk Council issued an enforcement notice after developing on council-owned land at North Denes in Lowestoft.
The council had ordered Tingdene (North Denes) Ltd to restore the land to its previous state and remove the development, which included the laying of caravan bases, construction of a road, installation of a pumping station with settlement tanks and the laying of pipe works.
Tingdene appealed the decision, arguing the work was permitted under previous applications in 1975 and 1984, both of which were submitted and approved by Waveney District Council.
The Planning Inspectorate, however, has rejected Tingdene's appeal, refused to grant planning permission and upheld the council's enforcement notice, which a report says must now take place within three months.
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In 1975, Waveney District Council approved its own application for a camping site and roadworks on the land and, nine years later, a further proposal to use the land as a seasonal tenting and touring caravan site, with up to 500 pitches.
The Planning Inspectorate report states: "It has not been demonstrated the works comprise part of either the 1975 or 1984 permissions.
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"Even if they did form part of the latter, the nature of that permission is such that they could only have been lawfully carried out by the local authority, which they were not."
Tingdene had further argued planning permission should be granted for the new 32 caravan site, highlighting the Waveney Local Plan's emphasis on supporting the tourism industry.
A number of issues were raised, however, including the impact on open space, public recreation and biodiversity, as well as an increased flood risk, with the Planning Inspectorate labelling the development as "unacceptable."
In a statement of case published in response to the appeal, East Suffolk Council stated: "The land subject to this appeal is a former landfill site, and the works undertaken have been with apparent disregard to this.
"There could be the potential for serious harm to local residents and wildlife in the form of untreated contamination and could render the site unsuitable for such quasi-residential purposes."
Tingdene, who claimed their land surveys found no evidence of contamination, declined to comment on the decision at this stage.