A caravan park near Holywell has had its expansion plans kicked out by politicians despite claims it would be boost the area’s economy.
The owners of The Ridings Caravan and Camping Park in Babell applied to Flintshire Council for an extra three touring caravan pitches, five chalets and a replacement toilet and shower block in December.
The scheme was recommended for approval by planning officers, who said tourism was important for Flintshire.
However, objections were raised by residents about the impact on the countryside and the extra traffic it would generate.
A planning committee meeting was held on Wednesday in order to scrutinise the proposals with a large turnout in the public gallery.
During proceedings, a number of councillors also expressed concerns and the plans were defeated by a narrow margin of just one vote.
Cllr Chris Dolphin, who represents Whitford, said it would result in a significant increase in the current number of pitches at the site and have a negative impact on a nearby chicken farm.
Addressing his colleagues, the Liberal Democrat councillor said: “There’s a good representation here today of the strength of feeling against this application.
“There will be massive conflict between the poultry unit, a long-established poultry unit, and this leisure facility.
“There’s no footways in this area, there’s no public transport and the approval of this application will alienate any green policy or pretence to be green by this council.
“This road, the shortest route to the A541, is not suitable for large caravans or large vehicles and this council is being encouraged to make it more awkward for working residents of the area.
“I urge you to refuse this application.”
His comments were greeted with applause by residents sat in the public gallery.
Shortly afterwards, a motion was moved by Cllr Patrick Heesom to reject the plans.
The current owners purchased the site in early 2017 and a planning statement prepared on their behalf osaid the development would provide ‘high quality’ accommodation for visitors to the area.
The application also received the backing of the council’s chief planning officer, who acknowledged the positive economic impact it would have.
Cllr Derek Butler, the authority’s cabinet member for economic development, also lent his support during the debate.
The Labour councillor said: “If you read the report, it says the proposed overall site has the capacity to comfortably accommodate the proposed number of pitches in accordance with the regulatory standards.
“The increase is therefore considered to be acceptable.
“Because the business is successful it wants to expand so there is a demand being created in that particular spot and I don’t understand some of the arguments quite frankly.
“I’m struggling to find a reason in planning terms to object to this.”
But in summing up the scheme, Cllr Heesom branded the scale of it as ‘disproportionate’.
His proposal to refuse permission was backed by eight votes to seven.
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).