Even under the “New Guard” EDDC has been granting planning permission to extend caravan sites within the AONB e.g most recently Pooh Cottage, Budleigh Salterton and there seems to be never ending expansions at Ladram Bay.
If this sets a precedent then such permissions would seem to be open to successful legal challenge – Owl
“Even if I only take into consideration the development of the Service Field, that is a significant intrusion into the AONB, contrary to a host of local and national policies. This case is in my view a more extreme version of Thornton Hall – the interests of the credibility of the planning system weighs heavily in favour of quashing the permission.” Mrs Justice Lieven
Alex Davis www.devonlive.com
A campaign group in North Devon has succeeded in quashing planning permission to allow a holiday park to extend land into an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Croyde Area Residents Association (CARA) filed the lawsuit against Parkdean Resorts and North Devon District Council to reverse planning permission from January 2014, granting Ruda Holiday Park expansion into green field areas around Croyde Bay.
The group claimed that North Devon Council unknowingly gave Parkdean permission to place an unlimited amount of caravans on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty after approving a change to the resort’s opening dates.
The case was heard in the High Court of Justice on March 4 and 5, with a decision being made by Mrs Justice Lieven.
Mrs Justice Lieven stated in her judgement: “Even if I only take into consideration the development of the Service Field, that is a significant intrusion into the AONB, contrary to a host of local and national policies. This case is in my view a more extreme version of Thornton Hall – the interests of the credibility of the planning system weighs heavily in favour of quashing the permission.”
“It would be very hard to explain to a member of the public why a permission which was granted in complete error and where the developer has now got a permission which gives him what he originally sought, i.e. the extension of operating times, should not be quashed.”
Croyde Area Residents Association was set up in response to increasing tourism in the Georgeham area. The association raised over £40,000 from local backers to file the lawsuit, in what they named a ‘David v Goliath’ fight.
Service field to be used for holiday park expansion
A spokesperson for CARA said: “CARA is delighted that Mrs Justice Lieven has quashed the harmful 2014 planning decision that unlawfully permitted expansion of Ruda Holiday Park into green undeveloped fields in the area of outstanding natural beauty in the Croyde Bay area.”
“This is the right decision for this beautiful natural landscape and the environment. We are relieved that this result has, for now, put the AONB and environment back at the forefront when it comes to proposals for any development in this precious area.”
“We want to thank our legal advisers Richard Turney and Alex Shattock of Landmark Chambers and Lisa Foster and her team at Richard Buxton Solicitors for their patience, commitment, expertise and practical approach to this important legal action.”
“Finally, and not least, we are hugely grateful to all those who have supported us from near and far. The funds we needed to raise to bring this legal action were substantial and the time and effort required pursue this case, considerable.”
“We could not have done this without the generosity, good spirit and good will provided by so many along the way. This decision represents a significant achievement for the many hundreds of people who have contributed in so many ways.”
“Whilst CARA fronted this action, it has been buoyed up by a much wider community of people who care about preserving protections to ensure that beautiful areas like this continue to be there for everyone not only now but in the future as well.”
Parkdean resorts, who own Ruda Holiday Park, currently own 67 holiday parks across the country, with four in Devon and eight in Cornwall.
In October 2013, the park applied for an “extension of the time limits during which the holiday park may be open”, using a site location plan which extended into unused land, as well as 12 hectares of land owned by third parties.
In November 2016, Parkdean Resorts submitted a planning application to station 50 within the Service Field to the North East of the park, meeting objection from the National Trust and regional AONB Partnership Officer.
After withdrawing the application in December 2017, the resort applied for a Lawful Development Certificate for siting caravans in the Service Field, claiming that the 2014 permission permitted the use of the entire red-lined area of the site location plan. After an appeals process, this was granted in February 2020 and challenged by CARA in July 2020.
A Parkdean Resorts Spokesperson stated: “We have been in frequent contact with the local parish council and local planning authority and have followed all the appropriate legal procedures.
“Our relationship with residents in the local area is very important to us and we look to maintain an open dialogue with the local community.”
North Devon District Council are yet to comment.