A holiday park on the Somerset coast is allowed to expand despite warnings from residents

More holidaymakers will be able to stay on Somerset’s west coast after an existing holiday park was given permission to expand.

St Audries Bay Holiday Club is near the village of West Quantoxhead, off the crucial A39 and at the northern tip of the Quantock Hills Area of ​​Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Club manager James Randle has applied for permission to build 58 additional caravan lodges on the site, replacing disused buildings and underused tennis courts.

Somerset West and Taunton Council has now granted permission, despite significant opposition from the AONB and local residents. The site is on the England Coast Path and is closely bordered on its western side by the Home Farm Holiday Park, as well as other smaller scale holiday accommodation.

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Plans originally indicated that an additional 65 lodges would be provided, but this number was later reduced to 58 after consultation with planning officers. Of these 58 lodges, 44 will be created by replacing either existing chalets, tourist sites or service buildings.

As part of the development, the existing tennis courts and putting green will be built, with the new lodges located in five distinct areas – the majority being on the north side near the scenic cliffs. A spokesperson for ARA Architecture (representing the claimant) said: “In order to continue to provide improved facilities at the park, the proposal to redevelop the site into high quality year-round tourist accommodation is necessary to develop the activity in line with market demand and keep up with current Southwest vacation trends.

“The current demand is for an increase in the frequency of short breaks to the UK taken throughout the year, as opposed to a few weeks holiday per year.” Terry Pentland, who has lived at the site for 18 years, said he and other residents were not consulted or informed when the plans were first presented.

Artist’s impression of 58 new caravan lodges at St. Audries Bay Holiday Club in West Quantoxhead

He said: “Management decided not to inform caravan and lodge owners directly of their plans, and so many owners who were unable to return to site after the winter closure were unaware of the “Such a drastic change to the whole site. It will change the whole philosophy and atmosphere of the holiday club for the worse, and based on the overall size of the holiday park, could be considered overdeveloped.

“After the development of 16 new plots (called Exmoor View) in St. Audries, this attracted not only holidaymakers but also investors who turned their lodge into an AirBnB, which caused owners concerns about safety and security. noise.with different people coming and going and staying for as short a period as just one night.i fear that if permission is granted for further plots it will continue to attract other investors with a view to renting properties short-term trailers and lodges, greatly increasing traffic flow throughout the site and the main single-lane access road.”

Angela Wilcox, who lives near the entrance to the holiday club, added: “As drivers suddenly turn off the busy A39 into a windy narrow private road with residential homes along the way, I would like really see some kind of driving limits or safety measures put in. This concern is not just for us but for the safety of everyone who uses this road, local residents and holidaymakers.

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Alex Meletiou, who works for the Quantock Hills AONB, said the plans offered “no mitigation” to offset these “strong local objections”. He added: “There is confusion as to the exact numbers involved and the period of residence requested, which was not specified in the application.

“Without further clarity, we cannot remain neutral and therefore cannot support this bid in its current form.” The plans were approved by the delegated powers of the council’s planning officers, rather than being decided in public by its planning committee.

Case officer Briony Waterman said: “A number of concerns have been raised about the loss of facilities at the holiday complex. want to provide users of their site.

“It is considered that the additional units by themselves would not have a significant impact on the residential amenity of the area.”


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