Worries caravan park plans will spoil local landscape

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FEARS have been raised that plans to refurbish and extend a caravan park at Threshfield in the Yorkshire Dales will have a huge impact upon the local landscape.

Members of Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority will be told that the proposal to redevelop and extend the Long Ashes Caravan Park, at Thresfield, near Grassington: “is considered to have significant and adverse impacts upon landscape character...”

Lakeland Leisure Estates Ltd want full permission to put in an extra 51 static caravans, a site for 64 touring caravans, 22 camping pods, which are small wooden sheds offering accommodation and two new buildings providing a toilet and shower block, receptions and wardens accommodation.

The site currently contains 128 residential park homes and 120 holiday caravans.

Members of the authority’s planning committee will meet on Tuesday at The National Park Authority Office, Yoredale, Bainbridge, to discuss the caravan park application.

A report to committee members recommends: “The Local Planning Authority considers that the proposed caravan park extension will result in a significant and harmful impact on the character and appearance of the surrounding landscape and the proposal does not produce significant overall visual or environmental improvements that would outweigh the harm caused or that is proposed as part of a comprehensive remodelling scheme.”

Authority bosses are also concerned the development would result in the loss of a nationally important habitat and are recommending members refuse the application.

Objectors include Threshfield Parish Council who say the local roads will not be able to cope with the volume of traffic and raise worries green field sites will be destroyed.

Eighteen letters of objection have also been received raising concerns including loss of wildlife habitat and hays, claims the application would lead to overdevelopment in the area, increased urbanisation within the National Park, increase in vehicles.

The Environment Agency also objects to the application saying the applicant has not supplied adequate information to demonstrate the risks of pollution posed to surface water quality cannot be safely managed.

One letter of support has also been received saying there would be no impact on ecology, there is adequate access to the site and the development would boost the local economy.

The developer has submitted a report saying the application would result in extra jobs and the site will contribute to the local economy by bringing more tourists to the area, who will spend their cash in the local economy.

Its report concludes that the current supply of camping and caravanning sites in Craven and the Yorkshire Dales National Park is unlikely to be able to meet demand at peak times.

Long Ashes Caravan Park is a long established caravan site located off the B6160 to the north of Theshfield. The caravan park is situated on the western side of Wharfedale and the site slopes down towards the River Wharfe.

Key habitats on the site as a whole are areas of calcareous grassland and lowland hay meadow, the Northern Brown Argus butterfly population and the presence of significant populations of common rockrose, which is the butterfly’s food plant.

Officers from the national park authority are concered the development could lead to the loss of an important habitat. In mitigation, the proposal proposes keeping veteran trees, pockets of woodland ground flora, excluding localised areas of calcareous grassland from the proposals and other measures.

The developer has submitted a traffic impact survey but officers say more information will be needed to decide whether the local roads can cope if members decide to grant permission.