Go-ahead for farm glamping as FOURTH planning decision…

Go-ahead for farm glamping as FOURTH planning decision…

A stock image of a glamping site (Image: Archant)

A farm in a village to the south east of Witney has been given the go-ahead for three glamping wagons – despite councillors initially refusing permission.

West Oxfordshire District Council’s Lowlands planning committee turned down an application from Church Farm, Church End, South Leigh, for three glamping wagons, a bike storage shed and the creation of four parking spaces in March 2022.

Planning officers had recommended approval but district councillors backed South Leigh Parish Council which referred to its neighbourhood plan, arguing it would lead to a loss of character in a rural area, light pollution, noise and a risk of increased traffic.

However, the applicants made their case to the Planning Inspectorate – the national body that has the final say when applicants are unhappy with outcomes from councils – and successfully appealed, although a claim for the council to pay costs was refused.

READ ALSO: Oxfordshire village pub shuts due to cost of living

Planning officer David Ditchett, who had recommended approval at the time, said: “Members found conflict with the South Leigh Neighbourhood Plan.

“Even though the inspector acknowledged that glamping would not accord with (the farm diversification) element of the South Leigh Neighbourhood Plan, he decided that the thrust of the policy had been met.”

It was one of three Lowlands appeals reported on at the meeting – all of which had gone against the council.

Oxford Mail: Church End in South Leigh

Oxford Mail: Church End in South Leigh

Church End in South Leigh (Image: Google)

Decisions on a retrospective application for decking already put down at a home on Willowbank, Witney, and the conversion of a barn into a home at Sturt Farm Courtyard, Burford –  smaller decisions that were taken by officers rather than councillors – were also overturned.

Councillor Colin Dingwall, representing Hailey, Minster Lovell & Leafield, questioned whether this could have ramifications.

READ ALSO: Oxfordshire boxer to pay back 60k he made from drug dealing

The Government can step in and take away decision-making power from the council if 10 per cent or more of its applications are successfully reversed at appeal.

Cllr Dingwall said: “Can I ask the age-old question of the totting-up process, we have lost a few appeals now, are we still in the situation where (if) we lose seven, eight or nine, we will lose our planning authority status?”

Mr Ditchett reassured councillors that “we are not underperforming by any stretch of the imagination”, insisting “we are doing very, very well”.

“If we get too many in a row and our performance is low in terms of major losses at appeal then the government can step in but we are nowhere near that,” he said.

 

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[2023-01-20 05:38:45

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