Controversial Foulden holiday park decision delayed

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Councillors have delayed making a decision on controversial plans for a caravan park at Foulden.

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

A business plan for the park, which will be known as ‘Foulden Lakes’, reads: “Following the success of Orchard Country Park and the growing demand for high quality holiday lodge accommodation, we are proposing to make a substantial investment in the Scottish Borders in order for our business to expand in this growing market. 

“Along with the very highest standards of ground care, natural beauty and the latest advances in holiday lodge accommodation, we believe that by introducing renewable energy technology we can take an evolutionary step in the holiday lodge sector. 

“The following proposal has been constructed in order to create the first ‘energy positive’ country retreat in the United Kingdom.”

However, the proposals have been met by 80 objections, including from 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.

Gillian Peart, of Mansefield, Foulden, writes in her objection: “The village of Foulden is a conservation area of recognised importance. 

“The size and nature of this development will adversely affect the beauty of the surrounding area and the level of noise from lodge occupants will disturb existing residents. 

“Nunlands House, adjacent to the proposed site, is a listed building and should be protected.”

John Pratt, of Kerrigan Way, Foulden writes: “Having just moved to Foulden in December 2018 I was shocked to discover that a planning application of this magnitude was submitted.

“The size of the site and number of caravans is extreme in comparison to Foulden village. The village has no amenities to support such a development. The area is very rural with the accent on farming and rural life, and should be kept as such. 

“Farming land has become very valuable to keep up with continuing increase of population. This would devour more agricultural land.”

At a meeting of Scottish Borders Council’s planning and building standards committee, which met on Monday August 5 to deliberate on the proposals, councillors heard that planning officers are recommending approval of the application despite local objections.

In a report to councillors, Ian Aikman, the council’s chief planning officer, writes: “The application site is an attractive location which has the potential to accommodate a suitable form of tourism development. 

“The development is likely to create an economic benefit for the area which could prompt further regeneration and inward investment into the local economy which is encouraged by local development plan policy for new caravan and camping developments. 

“It is acknowledged that the scale of the development is significant on this rural edge of Foulden and its resulting impacts have been carefully considered.”

Rather than come to a decision at the meeting, councillors agreed that viewing the site in person would be the best way to get a sense of the size and scale of the development, and therefore all agreed to postpone making a decision until after a site visit has been carried out. 

The planning and building standards committee is next due to meet on September 2.