March 31, 2023 6.00 pm This story is over 13 months old

Fears over wave of new caravans at Humberston seaside park

Refusal of chalet plans could be a hollow victory

The rejection of a new chalet on Humberston Fitties could lead instead to caravans filling up vacant plots instead.

That is what site owners Tingdene Holiday Limited and the former owner of Plot 80, where the proposed chalet was for, have said.

North East Lincolnshire Council’s planning committee refused the three-bed chalet proposed for Plot 80 on Wednesday, March 29, on the grounds of adverse impact on the Fitties conservation area.

But debate by councillors involved considerable discussion of the proposed chalet being a test case for development on overall 11 vacant plots in the Fitties. Approval of one would lead to the rest and the consequent loss of open space and character to the Fitties the vacant plots provided, councillors felt.

Service works have been taking place in preparation for development on the 11 vacant plots. There is 1992 permission for use of the vacant plots for movable structures, like caravans.

Adrian Smith bought the 11 plots to market them for development. He has since sold all but four, including the controversial Plot 80.

He said that, whether the chalet rejection was overturned, he expected development on the vacant plots by at least the “fall-back” 1992 option.

“My advice to the people that’s bought them is that we should do both,” he said of a possible appeal of the proposed chalet’s rejection and use of the 1992 position to develop on the vacant plots.

He argued new types of caravan build on the plot would represent “an improvement of 99% of what’s there” in the Fitties.

Mr Smith said the refusal had been driven by people concerned by the eight month occupancy limit on the chalet, and people worried about the conservation area’s green element.

The vast majority of objections made against the chalet did not refer to the occupancy period, save for scepticism as to the restriction’s flood risk effectiveness.

Mr Smith said when the council sold the Fitties to Tingdene, the 11 vacant plots were made clear as available for future use. There would still be open space on the site, including directly behind Plot 80.

“The fall-back position could actually be negative for the Fitties because you could even put a tent on there if you wanted to,” he said. But there were many people buying or interested in the plots who cared about the Fitties integrity.

“My own personal view is that the fall-back position’s better,” he said of development on the 11 vacant plots, four he still owns. “The cost of the chalets would be huge compared to the fall-back position.” He felt movable structures instead without planning restrictions would probably be more economical and sustainable.

At the planning committee, the chalet was treated as a new development, rather than a replacement for a former chalet, despite it being put forward as such originally. Mr Smith claimed they hoped to source proof within a few months that all vacant plots used to have builds on them.

He was also unimpressed by the vocal applause by objectors at the planning committee. Mr Smith felt that councillors may have been swayed by this.

Tingdene made a late representation to the planning committee emphasising the 1992 movable structures permission and issued a statement after numerous calls following the chalet’s rejection. “We have been asked for further clarity in relation to the ‘fall-back’ legal position outlined by the planning officer and the council’s legal officer.

“We can confirm, the planning team and the legal officer (having sought clarification from external legal counsel) have that if the permission was not granted today the individual plot owners could rely on the extant fall-back position applicable to the holiday park. That fall-back position removes all proposed controls that were included in the current application.”

Tingdene went onto state the exact conditions, namely that a caravan may be placed on any plot of land on the holiday park without planning permission, be occupied for up to ten months of the year, and with no restriction on the length of installation. Such caravans must be movable, composed of a maximum two parts that can be put back together as one, and have a maximum size of 20m by 6.7m.

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