Caravan site appeal bid to Environment Minister

The proposed touring caravan site in Heptonstall
The proposed touring caravan site in Heptonstall

An appeal has been lodged after planners rejected controversial proposals to build a caravan site on green belt land in Heptonstall.

In the past year, two planning applications have been turned down by Calderdale Council to transform land off Smithwell Lane into a touring caravan site, which included 39 pitches, office/toilet facilities, earthworks to create central moulds, an internal access road and new boundary walling.

The appeal, submitted by Westbourne Legal Services Ltd, has been made to the Secretary of State for the Environment on the basis that the appellants’ hope to “provide a high quality touring caravan site for visitors,” said Marilyn Brichard, a town planning consultant in Sowerby.

“This type of facility is not available around here and we hope to be able to attract visitors who can stay for a few days rather than just pass through this lovely and historic part of Calderdale,” she added.

It will be considered by the Government’s Planning Inspectorate.

The proposals have been controversial, and at times have angered residents and parish councillors, who voiced concerns about the green belt, access, visual impact and adequacy of provision.

Councillor Janet Battye (Lib Dem, Calder) said: “I will be putting my objections in for the appeal. It is on the hill top and on green belt land. It would cause a significant rise in traffic.

“I cannot imagine another 40 cars on that road, which ever way they came.

“Tourism is very important to us and we know that people like coming to the area of Heptonstall but the volume of this and location is just not worth it. It is in the wrong area.”

Calderdale Council’s Head of Planning and Highways, Geoff Willerton, said: “When considering this application, we took account of the benefits of the development for tourism; however it was concluded that these were outweighed by the harm to the Green Belt, landscape and the historic village of Heptonstall.

“The area’s tourism appeal largely lies in the quality of the landscape and historic buildings and it was felt that this development did not complement these features.”

Calderdale Council refused both applications on the basis that the plan lies on Green Belt landscape and is attractive and because of visibility restrictions.