[Yorkshire Dales] National park planning bosses have emphasised that caravans will remain welcome in a national park following concerns that they were to be banned as part of a long-term strategy to preserve the landscapes.
Paul Fellows, head of strategic policy at the North York Moors National Park Authority, told members of its planning committee that the draft Local Plan that was submitted to the Government earlier this month featured changes to policies over static rather than mobile caravans.
The national park is home to numerous caravan sites, such including ones at Rosedale Abbey, Ugthorpe and Ladycross Plantation.
Mr Fellows was responding to concerns over the Local Plan raised by the authority’s planning committee chairman, farmer David Hugill, who is also a North Yorkshire County and Hambleton District councillor.
The authority receives 700 to 1,000 planning applications a year, which have to be considered in accordance with the development plan, unless there are strong reasons otherwise.
Mr Hugill had asked officers for confirmation about the proposals relating to caravans in the Local Plan, which is nearing its climax with a week-long public examination of the proposals set to take place by October.
He said while there had been significant speculation over the future of caravans in the 554sq miles area, he had understood the authority was putting
Mr Fellows said the policy had been amended so as not to permit any new static caravans or the conversion of existing camping or caravanning sites to static ones, partly due to concerns over their visual impact.
The impending ban on new static caravans also follows the authority finding that nearly three-quarters of caravans and chalets in the park are not available for public hire and are being used as main homes, second homes or holiday rentals for prolonged periods of residence.
After the meeting, Mr Hugill said:
“There was a perception that caravans were no longer welcome in the North York Moors National Park.
That is definitely not the case.”
While drawing up the Local Plan the authority found that recreation and tourism, whilst not as large a sector as agriculture in terms of the jobs it creates, brought in around £647 million of spending, 7.93 million visits and provided around 10,900 full-time equivalent jobs a year.
It also found accommodation services is the biggest type of employment within this sector, and touring caravan and tented campsites make up the largest proportion of accommodation.
Mr Hugill said:
“Caravans are very important to the local economy. Many caravan owners enjoy setting off from different parts of the country to visit the North York Moors.”
Can not the Chairman of the planning committee read his own local plan? Or do Yorkshire Councillors think this is what officers are for?
The policy T3 is pretty clear, and the difference in law between static and mobile caravans (the former requiring licensing) should be know to everyone involved in planning in rural areas.
New sites for static caravans will not be permitted. Small extensions or increases in the number of static caravan pitches on existing sites will only be permitted where they would be well screened or would improve the visual impact of the site within the surrounding landscape. Additional units will be restricted to holiday use and short term letting or will be required to be removed from site between 1 November and 1 March.