New Forest National Park holiday let appeal allowed
Image thanks to Williams Lester Architects

New Forest National Park Authority: Pure Town Planning are delighted to have won an appeal in the New Forest National Park to convert a building into a new holiday let following an appeal hearing in Lymington last month.

The appeal proposal is on the lovely Red Shoot Camping Park in the open forest at Linwood near Ringwood. The owners having built a new reception, office and shop building found themselves with a redundant part of the amenities block and sought to diversify their accommodation offer by converting it into a self-contained holiday let unit. In most countryside locations, conversion of existing buildings to holiday lets is generally cautiously welcomed (see here for a classic stable conversion we achieved in Purbeck District). The New Forest National Park Authority however has a policy only to allow holiday lets in the countryside where they form part of a scheme of farm diversification – part of a wider policy to prevent the increase in visitor accommodation except within the three main National Park villages of Lyndhurst, Brokenhurst and Ashurst. On the basis of this policy the proposal had twice been refused by the National Park Authority before the owners asked Pure Town Planning to make a planning appeal.

Pure Town Planning were able to persuade the Inspector that the policy on holiday let conversions is now out of date because the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) paragraph 28 gives equal support to diversification of agricultural businesses and “other land-based rural businesses”.  The Inspector also accepted our submission, which the Authority also argued against, that the campsite was a land-based rural business. The Inspector also agreed with us that the proposal would not harm the environment of the New Forest because it would not increase visitor numbers. The Inspector found there was a compelling case to grant planning consent and so allowed the appeal to approve the first new holiday let in the National Park for three years.

Our client Jaqui Oldfield proprietor of Red Shoot Camping Park said: “We are delighted with the Planning Inspectors recent decision.  Here at the Red Shoot Camping Park we work extremely hard to provide visitors with a quality base from which to explore our beautiful New Forest and are constantly seeking to improve our facilities in order to keep pace with our customers changing expectations of the camping experience.  The addition of a 2 bed holiday let will provide people with a wider choice of accommodation options which can only be a good thing.  Dan Wilden, of Pure Town Planning, has provided us with a first class consultancy service.  He used his considerable skills and experience to get the result that we needed and we wouldn’t hesitate to wholeheartedly recommend Pure Town Planning.”

If you have a rural building capable of conversion why not get in touch and ask us to assess whether it has potential? And remember if it is an agricultural building it may already benefit from permitted development rights to change to a host of other uses.

Footnote: Unusually the appeal decision in this case contained a small but important error – a condition which restricted the use of the holiday let to tie in with the camp site season had the wrong date resulting in the potential loss of two months use. Fortunately there is the power under Section 56(2) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 for the Planning Inspectorate to correct minor errors. We applied to the Inspectorate in accordance with that section the same day the decision was originally issued and we had the amended decision issued in just over a week.