St Edmundsbury resubmit controversial West Stow caravan park plans with 80 less pitches

The site at West Stow Country Park of a proposed campsite.

The site at West Stow Country Park of a proposed campsite. - Credit: Archant

Controversial plans for a large caravan park in West Stow Country Park have been resubmitted, with 80 fewer pitches than before.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council, who own the land and submitted the application, withdrew plans for 180 pitches earlier this year, due to a raft of concerns over impact on the surrounding habitat and wildlife.

There were around 70 objections to the original plans, including from Natural England. The site is bordered by the Breckland Special Protection Area and the Breckland Forest Site of Special Scientific Interest.

The revised application for 100 pitches, which has been recommended for approval, seeks to address the environmental concerns and will be up in front of the planning committee on January 7. A supporting statement from the council explained how they hope the caravan site would help make West Stow Country Park a profit making asset. It is currently subsidised.

It read: “West Stow Country Park provides 52 hectares of free play area, nature trails and walks...for members of the public and their children. The Visitor Centre, gift shop, Anglo Saxon museum and village currently offers employment to the equivalent of 6.3 fulltime council employees. Its location of natural beauty lends itself to be developed as a one stop destination for camping and caravanning. It is the aim of this proposal to result in a sustainable income stream being generated into the foreseeable future.

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“The campsite will have a positive effect to the ongoing financial viability of the West Stow visitor attraction and other local attractions which will benefit from the accommodation provided by this scheme.”

The previous 180 pitch scheme encompassed a six hectare site. The revised scheme has been reduced to just over three hectares. Natural England have dropped their objections to the plans, while Suffolk Wildlife Trust still raised a number of concerns which the council claims to have addressed.

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The planning meeting will be held at West Suffolk House, in Bury St Edmunds, from 10am.

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