'Holiday park' concerns for Green Belt

June 11 2019

SALTFORD Environment Group has expressed concerns over two planning applications which members claim could create an Airb'n'b-style holiday park.


The group, which  has more than 500 members, has lodged objections to Clive Franklin’s application for a  Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Use at Avon Farm in Avon Lane. As part of the application, it has been requested that two properties - The Dove Cote and The Garden Room – can be used as separate dwellings.
The group say the plans show a disregard for planning law as it affects Saltford's Green Belt, and are a matter for concern.
Within the group’s objection letter to Martin Almond, senior planning and enforcement officer at B&NES Council, SEG chairman Phil Harding wrote: “This is a highly inappropriate development in the Green Belt outside Saltford's housing boundary. Such a development in a sensitive and hitherto quiet area of Saltford's Green Belt that is served by a narrow singletrack country lane used by cyclists entering and leaving the popular Bristol-Bath Sustrans cycle path and walkers including young families, sets an unwelcome precedent that is contrary to the provisions for protecting the Green Belt.”
The group also disputes  the application’s claims that The Dove Cote has been in continuous occupation as a self-contained dwelling for four or more years.
Mr Harding's letter  continues: “SEG is aware that following the submission of alleged planning contravention evidence by Saltford residents and your own investigations, this is not the case … this building was in use until at least May 2016 as an office in association with Cash4Cars; there was no planning permission granted for that use.”
Commenting on the application for The Garden Room, Mr Harding said the group also disputes the application’s supporting document claims that the property has been in continuous occupation as a self-contained dwelling since 2013. He wrote: “Whilst it is difficult to prove the validity or otherwise of the claim of continual domestic use, what is of relevance is whether there has been a deliberate concealment of this change of use since 2013.
“When B&NES Council visited the site in 2016 to investigate the change of use to offices of The Dove Cote, it is pertinent to question whether the use as a domestic dwelling of The Garden Room was concealed from the officer during that visit.”
Objections to the plans have also been lodged by Saltford Parish Council. In an email to planners, parish clerk Lottie Smith-Collins stated that the council “does not support inappropriate development of this nature in the Green Belt outside Saltford’s housing boundary. Such a development in a sensitive area of Saltford’s Green Belt that is served by a narrow single track country lane regularly used by cyclists entering and leaving the popular Bristol-Bath Sustrans cycle path and walkers including young families sets an unwelcome precedent that is contrary to the provisions for protecting the Green Belt in Chapter 13 of NPPF (2018).”
The planning reference number for The Dove Cote is 19/01731/CLEU and The Garden Room is 19/01732/CLEU. The deadline for receiving comments on both applications was Wednesday May 15, and at the time of writing both were still pending consideration, with a target decision date of Wednesday June 12.