Expansion of Richmond lodges site recommended for approval

The Aislabeck Plantation holiday site in Richmond. Photo: Gordon Hatton.

Planners recommend that the expansion of a Richmond holiday park should be approved.

The recommendation comes despite significant concerns being raised about a range of issues, including impact on the landscape, the risk of flooding and water contamination from the Natural Retreats site at Aislabeck Plantation off Hurgill Road.

If approved, the plans would see the existing Sanctuary building which includes the reception and kitchen facilities extended.

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Two new semi-detached lodges, each containing two accommodation units, would be built.

A new two storey building containing three accommodation units, each with 2 bedrooms, would be built.

There would also be landscaping work.

An original application was submitted last year which proposed 20 accommodation units.

Four lodges were also proposed with four bedrooms each.

However, the plans were amended in December following concerns from members of the public about issues including potentially contaminated water polluting nearby water courses from the foul drainage system on the site, the impact of weddings being held at the expanded site, surface water flooding on neighbouring land and the impact on the landscape.

The owners of the site have agreed on the amended plans that they will not use the main Sanctuary building for weddings, if the amended plans are approved.

However, Richmondshire District Council has received 25 further letters and emails from people objecting to the scheme, as well as three in support.

Their concerns include the impact of the expanded site on Richmond accommodation providers, concern that weddings cessation will be only temporary, impact on existing lodge owners, risk of fire, disability access and drainage infrastructure.

Richmond Town Council also objects, while The Campaign For the Protection of Rural England also object, adding that it has “grave concerns that many applications morph into unrecognised large scale development over the years under the guise of tourism.

Richmondshire Landscape Trust has raised concerns about the site causing flooding on its land at Westfields in Richmond saying it believes the current foul water drainage system is inadequate and the expanson will only make things worse.

The trust has suggested  there should be full environmental impact assessment in order that “the delicate ecological balance of this area may be maintained”.

It also claims that the removal of trees to make way for further accommodation will increase the risk of flooding in the Reeth Road area.

However, the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA), which has been in negotiations with the
applicant’s drainage consultants, has concluded that the applicant has demonstrated that surface water can be successfully managed for the proposed development.

Its report added: “Micro Drainage calculations have demonstrated that there is no flooding from the proposed development up to and including the 1 in 100 year plus Climate Change and Urban Creep critical storm event which meets current guidance. ”

In her report, Beverley Booth concluded that the changes would not give rise to material adverse impacts on local ecology and when incorporating the mitigation measures proposed, would have no significant impact on the existing foul or surface water drainage systems.

Recommending that planning committee members approve the application, she added: “The scale of the proposals as originally submitted has been notably reduced, in
response to the initial consultation responses.

“The scale of the revised proposals now represents small-medium scale sustainable growth of an existing tourism related business located in the countryside.

“This sustainable growth and its direct and indirect gains for the local economy give rise to net benefit in favour of the proposals.”

The application will be discussed by planning committee members on Wednesday.

To view the papers clock here.

To view all documents, including public responses, click here.