Polesden Lacey Plans to be revisited

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Appeal lodged over rejected plans for Polesden Lacey campsite

Posted: June 09, 2015

CAMPAIGN: Anne Berry and Tony Mann pictured at the proposed site for the campsite

PLANS to build a campsite on the Polesden Lacey estate in Bookham are set to be re-visited after it was revealed this week that an appeal had been lodged against the decision to refuse planning permission for the scheme.

The Planning Inspectorate confirmed to the Advertiser that an appeal had been submitted after Mole Valley district councillors defied the advice of officers and rejected the proposal in March.

Members of the development committee argued the plans would have an inappropriate effect on the sensitive site, which is in the green belt and an Area of Great Landscape Value.

The appeal has been lodged by e Embers Camping, which would run the operation of the campsite. The National Trust, which owns the land, supports the plans.

The original application sought permission for 35 to 40 pitches at the site, complete with a toilets and showers block, a reception hut and a shop.

Tony Mann, who lives near the site, was one of dozens to oppose the plans amid fears that coming and going of up to 240 campers at any one time could shatter the area’s tranquillity.

“It is unsurprising that an appeal has been lodged but people still remain defiant against the plans,” he said.

There’s talk that they have reduced the tent sizes to four-man only, which is a relief, and that they would be targeting younger families, but there are still concerns about the site chosen.

“The worry was if this was permitted, it won’t be long until they start applying for infrastructure like a car park and a road to support it.”

The 1.8-hectare field was occasionally used several years ago for camping by Girl Guides, but the lack of facilities has limited its use.

At a planning meeting in March, development control committee members voted nine to five against the plans, giving lack of access and the volume of potential campers as some of reasons for refusal.

Planning officer Gary Rhoades-Brown called their reasons for objection “very weak” and warned the decision to refuse permission could be subject to an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.

According to its planning statement, Ember Camping proposes to use the site between April and September.

In a letter supporting the proposals, Polesden Lacey general manager Andrea Selley highlighted the need for children to “connect with nature”.

She added: “In our view, Polesden Lacey is an ideal place to develop family camping facilities.”