Neighbours living close to a caravan site near Holywell say they are relieved after plans to extend it were thrown out.
Politicians in Flintshire chose to reject proposals for an extra three touring caravan pitches, five chalets and a new toilet block at the Ridings Caravan and Camping Park in Babell earlier this week.
It came despite council officers recommending the scheme for approval because of the boost they said it would give to the area’s economy.
However, residents have expressed their relief at the decision, which was taken because of concerns about the impact on the countryside and traffic.
Fiona Martin, who lives nearby, said: “As a community, we are so pleased and relieved with the outcome of the committee meeting.
“We are united in our opposition to any further development of this site, which would have such a negative impact on this small peaceful hamlet.
“Babell is a place of silence, beauty and wildlife including bats, owls, and badgers which live in harmony with the farming landscape.
“Placing a holiday park in the middle of that would have been an absolute travesty.”
During the planning meeting, Whitford councillor Chris Dolphin said the development would result in a significant increase in the number of pitches at the site.
He added that it would also have a negative impact on a nearby chicken farm.
The Liberal Democrat politician’s comments drew applause from those present in the public gallery.
Another neighbour Nick Caldwell described the committee’s decision as ‘common sense’.
He said: “Flintshire planning committee adhered to policy and made a reasoned and balanced decision to refuse planning permission for the Ridings Caravan and Camping Park proposed development.
“Members of the committee found that in addition to the unsuitability of the whole location, the scale of the proposed development was not considered to be ‘modest or reasonable’ and that common sense has to be applied to large over developments in unique rural areas.”
The scheme was rejected despite receiving some support.
A planning statement written on behalf of the owners of the caravan park ahead of the meeting claimed the development would provide ‘high quality’ accommodation for visitors to the area.
It also gained the backing of the council’s chief planning officer, who acknowledged the positive economic impact it would have.
Meanwhile, Labour’s Derek Butler said the site could ‘comfortably’ accommodate the proposed expansion.
However, permission was ultimately refused by a narrow margin of eight votes to seven.
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).