Plans for petting zoo and archery delayed due to row of caravans

The businessman behind the plan to create a recreational development in a village in South Ribble has been asked to think again about a proposal to allow more than two dozen touring trailers to plant at the site .

Paul Kenworthy, whose family has owned Turbary House Nursery in Whitestake since 1970, wants to offer activities such as fighting games and archery – as well as a petting zoo – at the Green Belt grounds of Six acres off Chain House Lane.

An off-road driving experience in an electric vehicle for the youngest and a clay laser shooting are also planned.

However, a meeting of the South Ribble Borough Council planning committee heard concerns from nearby residents and councilors about a proposal to accommodate 26 touring trailers as part of the redevelopment – and postponed their decision on the overall plan to give the applicant a chance to reconsider this element of it.

More: The latest Covid rates for South Ribble and the rest of Lancashire

Half of the land on which the caravans would be sited is currently a hardened area used as storage by an oil tanker company, while the other half contains greenhouses.

The greenhouse section of the proposed caravan sites is not covered by a legal planning certificate issued in 2018, which applies to about a quarter of the site and allows uses that would not normally be considered appropriate in the green belt. , including storage.

As a result of this development clearance, committee members were tasked with deciding whether the plans currently on the table would have a “greater impact on opening up” the greenbelt than the existing operation.

Councilor Phil Smith said the suggested 26 touring trailers were “far too numerous” for the site.

Lesley Keller, a villager who addressed the committee, said she and her family were not “anti-development” but questioned “the scale and scope” of the proposals.

She then made a direct appeal to the plaintiff, asking them to remove half of the trailer site that would be on a virgin part of the plot rather than on a brownfield site.

“Mr. Kenworthy, our objections are not personal. We respectfully request that you place the broader needs [of] green belt before inappropriate development – we want to support you and this development, but not at the expense of our precious green belt, ”said Ms Keller.

Planning officer Chris Sowerby said that while a request to turn farmland into a touring caravan site would generally be viewed as “inappropriate development”, members needed to take a “more holistic approach” that took into account the how the proposal in this case would fit into the larger framework. to place.

Residents’ concerns were not limited to touring trailers – with a total of 19 opponents voicing fears, including the potential for noise and traffic impact of the development. One of them, Christine Furlong, told the assembly that the proposal “would not conform to the local semi-rural atmosphere”.

However, 26 people also wrote in favor of the plans, saying they would improve the site’s appearance and create jobs.

Daniel Hughes, the demand officer, said the Kenworthys had “always sought to respond positively” when discussing with council about their plans and amended their latest proposal to transform an area west of the site, currently used for storage opening, back in a maintained field.

He added: “[The family] are aware of the relations with local residents and companies and wish to maintain good relations with them all, as is the case since they have owned the site.

” Generally [the scheme] showcases an improvement in current land use and site condition, with improvements to the impact on opening up the Greenbelt and [a reduction in] current impact on amenities on neighboring properties – among other economic, social and environmental benefits.

Committee members wrestled with the issues for nearly 90 minutes, before finally agreeing to postpone their decision to allow for a revamp of the traveling trailer component.

During the debate, Cllr Mary Green spoke out against what she called “big” ideas, but in the wrong place.

However, his committee colleague, James Flannery, said the site was “in dire need of investment” and members should “try to support and approve local businesses that are trying to invest right now.”

“We want everyone to take a little [this process], [for] no one to lose and [there to be] a little bit of compromise, ”added Cllr Flannery.

The Local Democracy Information Service understands that Mr Kenworthy is currently examining his options following the committee’s decision.

According to the proposal, the existing storage areas on the site would be redesigned and moved to a central location. This would lead to the addition of 40 storage trailers to the field, bringing the total to 130 – in addition to the residential trailers.

There would be no change to the center and the raptor fishing that operates elsewhere on the site.

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