Revised plans for caravan holiday park near Foulden are turned down

Plans for a controversial caravan park in Berwickshire have again been thrown out by Scottish Borders Council. 

By Joseph Anderson
Thursday, 6th August 2020, 9:11 am
James Tait wanted to create a high-quality holiday park on land at Willowdean House, near Foulden.
James Tait wanted to create a high-quality holiday park on land at Willowdean House, near Foulden.

James Tait, owner of Orchard Country Park at Lucker, Northumberland, wants to build a 52-caravan holiday park in the grounds of Willowdean House, near Foulden.

However, the plans have attracted 88 objections from Foulden residents and Foulden, Mordington and Lamberton Community Council, with most objectors mentioning the visual impact of a holiday park on the small village as their main concern.

The plans were previously rejected by the council in September 2019, due to concerns over the quality of the lodge designs, the visual impact of the development and the additional pressures on local roads.

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Following the rejection, Mr Tait, through his agents Avison Young, resubmitted the plans with more details on the design of the lodges and the materials he intended to use in their construction.

Appearing before the planning and building standards committee which met to hear his second application, Mr Tait said: “We have successfully developed a high quality and comparable holiday business, Orchard Country Park at Lucker, and fully comprehend the requirements of creating a successful, high-quality holiday park.

“We appreciate the connotations associated with holiday parks and caravans are not always positive ones, and the industry profile has been damaged by large scale commercial developments.

“However, we wish to continue to challenge these misconceptions and present you today an ultra-low density, high quality and attractive holiday retreat proposal.”

Opposing the proposals, Harry Frew, of Foulden, Mordington and Lamberton Community Council, told the committee: “Here we are again. No change, but with a new agent, added green-washing and a disregard of the committee’s decision last September.

“Still there are no benefits for the local community, with nothing in a five-mile radius by way of shops, cafes or pubs. The development will overwhelm the village. The design is completely out of keeping with the local landscape and historic environment.

“The loss of local amenity will be huge. The urban sprawl of these 52 ugly, plastic covered structures will be an eyesore.”

Despite the objections of residents, officers from the council’s planning department recommended councillors approve the application.

Ian Aikman, the council’s chief planning officer, told the committee: “The reasons for refusing the [September] application are understood and have been considered throughout the consideration of this repeat application. 

“The decision to recommend approval or refusal is finely balanced. Nevertheless it remains the assessment of the Planning Authority that through the agreement of an improved landscape framework, protection of existing trees and hedging, the agreement of a sensitive pallet of external materials and colours and the addition of the agreement of the a mixture of suitably designed, high quality lodges types that the proposed development can integrate with the surrounding area without adversely affecting its rural character.”

Councillors sitting on the committee were broadly in favour of rejecting the application, with the exception of Hawick councillor Neil Richards, who wished to approve the proposal in order to ‘support a local businessman like Mr Tait’. 

He couldn’t find a seconder for his proposal, however, and so the application was rejected.