Casebook: Appeal cases - Leisure and entertainment - Lack of information scuppers tourist lodges

Plans for a woodland centre in the Lake District national park comprising a tree nursery, workshop, visitor centre, nature trail and 12 holiday lodges have been turned down after an inspector found that insufficient information about the viability of the project had been submitted.

In examining the impact on the area's character and appearance, the inspector accepted that the constituent parts formed an integrated package that did not warrant an assessment of alternative sites in or adjacent to existing town centres. He noted that the retail element was closely associated with the manufacture of wood products and other items while the retail and manufacturing uses were part of the management of the land.

While agreeing that there was no objection in principle to a countryside location for the centre, the inspector felt that the economic justification for the lodges was less clear cut. He noted the appellants' assertion that 12 lodges were required to support what was essentially a non-profit-making business, but was concerned that if more were needed in future it would prove difficult to resist. In the absence of an audited business plan, he was unable to conclude that future lodges would not be proposed.

DCS No: 36199617; Inspector: Stuart Nixon; Inquiry.

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