Thursday, December 8, 2022

Camping site in Stanford-le-Hope given planning permission

A CAMPING site which has been operating without full planning permission for more than ten years has been given approval to carry on.

Thurrock planning officers granted a certificate of lawfulness for Walton Hall Farm in Stanford-le-Hope to continue running a caravan and camping site along with a craft centre and visitor attraction.

Part of the land was granted a certificate of lawfulness in 2009 because it had then been used as a camping site for more than ten years. That granted permission for a maximum of eight caravans on the site during the winter season and 18 throughout the summer season but that was exceeded.

The ten year rule applies to a change of use for land or buidings which have existed in excess of ten years and are therefore protected from enforcement action.

The current owner Kirsty Ireland subsequently submitted an application for a larger area of land to be certified as lawful as it too has been operating for more than ten years. The new application sought permission for 22 caravans.

The visitor attraction opened in 1992 and offers a museum, café, barbecue and picnic areas. It also has play areas and stages events and parties. A retail unit has been added recently.

A craft centre on the site offers activities such as baking and art sessions. All of the facilities are open to those staying in the caravan and camping site as well as visitors.

A report to Thurrock council by the RPS Group on behalf of the applicant, said it would not be reasonable to submit planning applications for each activity on the site: It said:  “The evidence shows that the application site has been in a mixed use as a visitor attraction, craft centre, camping and caravan site for more than ten years.

“The site continues to offer a wide selection of activities and attractions with no physical or functional barrier between individual activity. It’s use cannot therefore be individually categorise and cannot be split into a large number of individual uses and consequent numerous planning units.”

Granting the certificate of lawfulness, the council said: “On the balance of probability, and in the absence of any information to the contrary, the mixed use of the site is most likely to have occurred continuously for over ten years and is therefore lawful.”

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