Akebar Park: Yorkshire holiday park director hits out at 'abhorrent' planning delays after four-year fight

A YORKSHIRE holiday park director has called on the Government to reform the planning system after winning a four-year battle to add more lodges and caravan homes to his site.

Akebar Park near Leyburn had applied in summer 2020 for a change of land use to add 27 additional holiday lodges and caravan holiday homes to the site in an area which is currently part of a golf course.

The application was rejected by Richmondshire District Council in February 2023 but the Planning Inspectorate has now upheld an appeal to allow the scheme to go ahead.

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Director Jack Reynard said he was “absolutely delighted” with the outcome but said the situation raises wider concerns about the way planning applications are dealt with.

Akebar Park is to be extended following a four-year fight for planning permissionAkebar Park is to be extended following a four-year fight for planning permission
Akebar Park is to be extended following a four-year fight for planning permission

He said: “It has been a long road, the application was first submitted in July 2020 and has taken nearly four years to get this point.

“I urge the Government to press forward making reforms to the planning process; the length of time it takes for thousands of businesses across the country to gain planning permission is utterly abhorrent and stifles economic growth across many industries.”

The existing site has 180 static caravans and 110 touring caravans and tents.

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The planning inspector in the case said the proposal put forward represented a “limited extension” to the existing site and added “there is also nothing to suggest that either the site or the local area does not have the capacity to absorb this limited, additional development”.

The report said the council had referenced potential harm to the character and appearance of the area due to the loss of a historic wetland among its reasons for refusal and had submitted a biodiversity map as part of its evidence in the case.

But it said: “Even acknowledging the existing watercourses as shown on the government flood maps, the biodiversity map demonstrates that no such designation applies to the site, which I observed to be part of an existing and working golf course.”

It added that while concerns were raised about the possibility of “undue levels of litter, noise and anti-social behaviour”, this was not cited as a reason for refusal by the council and there was “nothing substantive” to suggest there would be a problem.

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Mr Reynard said the Planning Inspectorate decision means work can now begin on extending the site.

“We can now progress with offering top quality holiday homes in a wonderful location whilst ensuring we maintain our good track record on environmental and sustainable practices throughout the development and beyond.

“Upon commencement of the development, it will provide a boost locally to businesses and general employment, from civil and groundworks partnerships to long term employment opportunities within sales, housekeeping and grounds maintenance.

“I would like to thank our agent Barrs and Co Chartered Surveyors for all the work they have carried out for us over the past four years on this application.”

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