Two planning applications in the Moorlands, which had both been recommenced for refusal by council officers, have been given the green light. A paintball business is to be replaced by five holiday cabins on land at Broad Oak Farm in Kingsley after the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) planning committee passed an application for change of use at its virtual meeting last Thursday (September 17).
Two planning applications in the Moorlands, which had both been recommenced for refusal by council officers, have been given the green light.
A paintball business is to be replaced by five holiday cabins on land at Broad Oak Farm in Kingsley after the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council (SMDC) planning committee passed an application for change of use at its virtual meeting last Thursday (September 17).
The plans had been recommended for refusal by planning officers.
During the planning meeting, ward councillor Mike Worthington, applicant Andy Harrison and his agent Jonathan Imber, all spoke in support of the plans, which had been considered “inappropriate and unsustainable development in the Green Belt” by the officers.
Mr Harrison said: “I’ve lived at Broad Oak Farm my whole life and been an advocate promoting this great part of Staffordshire that we live in.
“The Churnet Valley is on a par with anything in the Peak District, yet never seems to get the same attention. There is direct pedestrian access from the site to the Churnet Valley and by car from a main road.
“We will attract visitors who will want to spend money in Leek and Cheadle in shops and restaurants. We will introduce them to things like oatcakes and Cottage Delight. And we can also offer field sports and fishing on-site as well.
“We will have the opportunity to direct people to the Staffordshire Moorlands and not pass us by on the way to Derbyshire.”
Walking links to nearby attractions such as Consall Nature Park as well as the prospect of replacing ‘dilapidated’ structures used for paintballing with the new cabins, prompted councillors to consider going against the officers’ recommendation.
A ‘virtual site visit’ involving a planning officer recording an exploration of the site, was included as part of a report to councillors before they made a decision.
Councillor Ian Whitehouse recommended the application be approved. He said: “Seeing the video and seeing all those old buildings, I’m sure that siting these lodges will be a great improvement to the site.
“Looking at the plans for the lodges, I don’t think there’s many four-bedroomed cabins of that design and quality.
“Also the owner here is making a very large investment in his own area and we need people to invest in this area to bring tourism and visitors to the area.
“We haven’t only got Alton Towers, we’ve got a lot of attractions in this area and I think we should be looking at those sorts of things. I think this is a cracking development and I propose that it’s supported.”
A unanimous vote in favour of the application means the 30-year paintball business will now be replaced by holiday lets.
Also during last Thursday’s planning meeting, SMDC councillors gave permission for a farming family at Whiston to build a new home as part of expansion plans for their dairy business.
The new property had been recommended for refusal by planning officers.
A 1,000sqm plot of land in the corner of a field at Blakely Farm sits next to the roadside and opposite the farmhouse.
It will become a home for the farmer’s daughter and son-in-law who both work on the farm.
Officers had suggested the agricultural need for an additional home on the farm was justified, but that the property should be in a different location.
A report to the planning applications committee stated: “The applicant has selected a very exposed and prominent open site on a large area of field. The dwelling would be placed beyond the southern peripheries of the farm complex where it would have a poor and divorced relationship with the existing farmstead and its collection of buildings.
“There would be significant harm here to the landscape, the character and appearance of the distinctive countryside locality and the setting and arrangement of a historic farmstead.
“It is of note that within the complex there appears to be the possibility of providing the additional accommodation more sensitively either within existing stone buildings; as a replacement for underused dilapidated buildings; or on space more centrally located within the complex.”
But elected councillors who debated the application, raised concerns that a family home placed within the working farm could pose dangers for the couple’s young children and that the selected plot would allow the property to have its own curtilage and be close enough to further agricultural buildings currently under construction.
During the debate, councillor Pete Wilkinson said: “I think the applicant has explored all the options. They have chosen the most appropriate site for a dwelling.
“They don’t want their kids running out into the farmyard – farming is one of the worst industries for accidents, especially with young kids.
“They should be entitled to a certain amount of domestic curtilage where their children can play.
“I think we should give them our full support so I’m recommending approval.”
The committee of elected members unanimously voted in favour of the application.
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