Yorkshire holiday park plan is 'shameful destruction of versatile agricultural land' says councillor

Plans for an electricity substation on a new holiday lodge park have been approved by Redcar and Cleveland councillors after they concluded there were no other means to power the site.

Coun Billy Ayre queried why the substation had not been included in the application originally for the facility, which was given permission in 2020.

Twenty one holiday lodges are being built on former agricultural grazing land, off the A171 Middlesbrough Road on the outskirts of Guisborough, opposite the Cross Keys Hotel. The substation will be in the north-east corner of the site.

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Coun Ayre asked: “Why does the applicant feel it is necessary for a substation? Surely this must have been taken into consideration on the original application to say we need an electricity supply. Unless it is to be lit by gas lamp?”

The farmland which has been earmarked for the holiday park

The council’s development services manager Claire Griffiths said: “I presume it is the only way they can get electricity to the site, there must have been conversations with National Powergrid and the energy providers.

“It may have been that further discussions have identified a gap, it happens, it happens on housing sites sometimes.”

There were also questions among regulatory committee members about the height of the substation – 2.8 metres – compared to the height of the lodges, with the former being slightly smaller.

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Pamela Willis, an objector, claimed councillors had been “misled” over the visual impact of the holiday park and the concerns of some people living locally, which included highways safety issues, had been ignored.

She said: “What is obvious to near neighbours and the thousands of passing motorists everyday is the shameful destruction of versatile agricultural land.

“The introduction of a substation suggests the potential for light pollution that will cause more significant harm and have a negative effect on the natural environment and to wildlife in this rural location.”

But council planning officers concluded the proposal was suitable and would not have an adverse impact on the character and appearance of the area. Coun Ayre said he did not feel the addition of a substation would cause any “significant blight” and there was no valid reason to refuse the application.

Coun Anne Watts said: “As the site already has already had planning, I propose we agree with the officer’s recommendation. We plainly have no choice, as they need electricity for it [the site] to be operational.”

Coun Stuart Smith, the chairman of the committee, said: “The building itself is smaller than the chalets and I don’t consider it to be a detrimental aspect to the countryside or a negative feature of the site.”