Glamping and camping proposal for Fineshade
3 September 2021 - Application refused
The planning officers of the new North Northamptonshire Council have refused the latest planning application for Change of Use to the fields at Top Lodge. So strong was the case for rejection that officers ruled it did not even need to go to committee and gave four reasons for their decision.
The proposal would result in visual harm to the character and appearance of the locality and wider landscape.
The proposed development is not compatible with the nature conservation interests for which the application site is designated as a Local Wildlife Site.
There would be harm to the important agricultural setting of the Grade II listed Top Lodge Farmhouse which contributes to its historic significance.
Safe and convenient access to the site is not possible given the hazards at the present junction of Top Lodge Road and the A43 and there are concerns about intensification of use of Top Lodge Road itself, given the insufficient carriageway width and lack of footway provision.
You can download the full decision notice on the council's planning website or by clicking here ....
In early spring 2021 yet another planning application appeared for the meadow in front of Top Lodge. This one proposed 15 glamping pods, an unspecified number of camping pitches, a car park apparently with 21 spaces and a single static caravan for an on-site warden. And it was right in front of a Grade II listed building. But, most importantly, this would provide "Change of Use" for the meadow making further tent or caravan development much easier.
This is typical of applications that are the thin end of a wedge towards a company's real aim: in this case a huge complex of holiday or residential accommodation at Top Lodge. It's known as "planning mission creep". This application tries to exploit loopholes in legislation to build accommodation in beautiful open countryside.
Let's not be hoodwinked: this was a property company desperately trying to get a foot in the door to exploit Fineshade, just as they have at other similar sites
About the plan
Please click here to see the full planning application on the council's planning portal. It is number NE/21/00388/FUL.
This was the 5th application made by the owners of the field - all the others had been unsuccessful.
This one was lodged with the former East Northants Council but was decided by the new unitary authority of North Northamptonshire. There is a new Planning Committee made up of councillors who would not necessarily know about the history of previous applications. We needed to make sure they knew the strength of local opposition.
The important details are in the Planning Statement that may be downloaded here. Large file - 9.3 Mb)
126 friends objected
Many were short, heart-felt objections focussing on a single issue that meant a lot to the writer - these were very effective indeed. Some of the issues are listed in orange boxes below. It took less than 5 minutes to make an objection and the blue arrow gave step-by-step instructions of how to do it
The map shows the existing Top Lodge buildings (greyish tones, top centre)
The 15 glamping pods are shown as brown rectangles
What the plan did not make clear was the sloping nature of the ground which in places is quite steep. This is particularly true for the carpark as well as the space designated for tent camping.
What would the buildings look like?
The application did not specify or provide images but it seemed likely that the pods would be similar to those shown on the right and the static caravan as depicted in a previous application.
The meadow where development was proposed
This is the field where the camping and glamping would take place, with the entrance on the immediate right
The company behind this application,
Countrywide Park Homes
The application came from Mrs Donna Barney who, with her husband Tony Barney, are the Directors of Countrywide Park Homes Ltd.