DC Casebook: Leisure and Entertainment - Harm to area foils resort accommodation

A holiday park proposed at a Yorkshire theme park has been rejected on the grounds that its economic benefits would be insufficient to outweigh harm to the landscape and sustainability objectives.

The appellant's proposals were part of a project to develop the theme park as a holiday resort. It entailed provision of 204 caravans, 136 lodges, a reception complex, a pub extension and a wet weather shelter. The inspector agreed that park visitors primarily went to enjoy its attractions rather than views of the countryside, but reasoned that it did not necessarily follow that they would be any less appreciative of the rural setting.

She found that the proposal would harm the setting and lead to adverse night-time visual impacts. The change from farmland to holiday park would cause significant permanent harm to the agricultural character of the landscape, she held. She accepted that the creation of a woodland environment could go some way to redressing this, but was unconvinced that it could be achieved while accommodating all 340 caravans and lodges.

The appellants hoped that many of those who had enjoyed day visits to the theme park would come to the resort for a family holiday. The inspector considered that they would be likely to leave the site on occasion during their stay and found that while public transport and cycling provision improvements had been identified, they would not go far in raising the quality of current links.

She noted that the theme park sector continues to change, with the present trend being towards resort-type facilities. She accepted in principle that the proposal represented a desirable course of commercial action and had a strong locational justification. In her view, however, the 260 privately-owned units would be of limited direct benefit to the current business.

Inspector: Kath Ellison; Inquiry.

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