Despite having firmly established a business on Slades Farm in Thorncombe Street – despite neighbour opposition -Waverley Planners gave a permanent staycation site the go-ahead.
Judging by the pictures provided to the eastern planning committee members, the site off Thorncombe Street looks like a staycation for visitors in mud, mud, glorious mud?
Councillors heard Cllr Richard Seaborne (Con, Bramley) explain why he had called the application in because of the strength of opposition. There had been 40 letters of objection to the application submitted in November 2020.
Eleven months to have to application heard!?
Although sympathetic to the economic case for 2 yurts and 3 tents, neighbours’ concerns must be carefully considered as other similar proposed applications at Langhurst Farm in Hascombe were mooted. Neither Surrey highways nor Bramley Parish Council had raised objections, but the committee couldn’t ignore the strength of feeling by those living nearby.
The owner of Thorncombe Barn said the use during the Summer had brought multiple incidents of noise and nuisance, including an all-night party and parties and barbecues going on until the early hours. In a valley in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the sound carried and the use had a deleterious effect on nine homes and their occupants nearby.
However, the applicant gave the committee assurances, it would not happen again and apologised profusely for any inconvenience caused.
Despite raising their concerns on the effect of the change of agricultural use, councillors and officers believed sited for staycations in Waverley were required to meet the need. However, they should impose conditions on the owners that no large groups could hire the tents.
“That way, if there are separate families hiring the facilities, and one is making too much noise, they can tell them to shut up and be quiet, said Cllr Michael Goodridge.”
There were concerns about limiting the numbers in each unit, but officers said their size was self-limiting. But what if a lot of visitors turned up for a party, said Milford Cllr Maxine Gale? Members were reminded that the use could continue for 28 days in any one year without planning consent, though the applicants had exceeded this.
Dunsfold Cllr Kevin Deanus said he objected to anyone disregarding the planning system.
We should shame people who do and we should be able to charge them ten times more planning fees for doing it!“
The applicant had also removed trees and hedgerows to provide access!
Cllr Christine Baker said she recognised the real neighbour concerns, saying that monitoring the noise from such use was unenforceable.
The Police will not act and neither will Waverley’s emergency officer.
I know, because I suffered from the same experience and was kept awake until 6.a.m. We do not know nearly enough what impact this will have on neighbours.”
A toilet and shower block of 3m x 2m to serve two yurts and three “huge tents” appear insufficient according to Cllr Martin D’Arcy –
and, the kitchen opens straight onto the toilets – is that allowed?”
That shouldn’t be a concern of the committee, as it was not a planning matter, said Chief Planning Officer Zac Ellwood.
Despite over an hour’s debate, the committee granted consent by 5 votes to 2 with one abstention.