Controversial caravan site to be decided

Campaigners against proposed caravan park development in Foolow. Peter Slater and Simon Wills.
Campaigners against proposed caravan park development in Foolow. Peter Slater and Simon Wills.

Residents of a Peak District village say they could see an unsustainable influx of tourists if a new caravan site gets the go-ahead.

Plans for 60 new caravan pitches on land near Brosterfield Farm in Foolow will be considered by the National Park’s planning authority tomorrow.

The Peak District village of Foolow.

The Peak District village of Foolow.

The land - which is owned by the Peak District National Park itself - has had a caravan park on it before, but residents are concerned the new development will be far too big for the small community to cope with.

Simon Wills, chairman of the Foolow parish meeting, said: “This is going to be a great big commercial development right in the heart of the Peak District.

“The potential is for 60 caravans throughout the summer which would mean more than 120 people - we have no shops, no swings, no toilets.

“There would also be increased traffic, a more dangerous junction and the spoiled landscape as well.”

Campaigners against proposed caravan park development in Foolow.

Campaigners against proposed caravan park development in Foolow.

He added: “You would be able to see it from the road and at night.

“It is going to change everything for no other reason other than to bring in money.”

Simon also says many in the village worry about how the site may develop in the future.

“If it is 50 today will it be 100 tomorrow?” he said.

Campaigners against proposed caravan park development in Foolow. Peter Slater and Simon Wills.

Campaigners against proposed caravan park development in Foolow. Peter Slater and Simon Wills.

As well as the 60 caravan pitches, the plans would also allow a bungalow and amenity block to be built on the site.

The land was originally bought by the National Park some years ago after it mistakenly granted permission for a static caravan park at the site and had to buy it back from the developer at a cost of £650,000.

‘We realise some of the local community are disappointed’

Sarah Fowler, Peak District National Park chief executive, said: “We recognise local people’s concerns about the future of the Brosterfield site, it is important for us to find the right solution moving forward for this location.”

“We purchased the site back in 2012, for £650,000, to protect the landscape by preventing it becoming an unconditional static caravan site, but always with the intention of resolving the planning consent and selling the site.

“As a public body we have a duty to recover as much of the purchase price as possible, reverting the site to a ‘green field’ is not an option. We realise some of the local community are disappointed in this and would like to see the site only used for agriculture but we have to do what is right for the National Park and we cannot ignore the financial aspect.”

If the planning committee approves the application, it will still be possible for the government to refer the application to an independent inspector.