HOLIDAY park bosses look set to win over planners with their vision of a safari-type tourism village on the edge of Weymouth aimed at the ‘glamping’ market.
The Waterside Holiday Group has plans for high-spec safari tent holiday accommodation for part of its site at Bowleaze.
It would replace 74 touring caravan and motorhome pitches in the north eastern corner of the park.
The luxury accommodation, unique to the area, aims to win over families who may not usually be attracted to a caravan park.
Constructed on a timber platform with a steel frame and featuring an open balcony at the front, the three-bedroom tents are a world away from conventional camping, with mod cons including a shower and a dishwasher.
The tents would stay up all year round but only be available for 10 and-a-half months of the year.
The existing touring site facilities block would be converted to a reception area dedicated to the new accommodation.
In its submission to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, Waterside says the proposals represent part of a “continuous programme of investment and attempt to provide a premium market in Weymouth, attractive to family groups looking for something out of the ordinary”.
It highlights research that ‘glamping’ – glamorous camping combining camping with luxury amenities – is growing.
The applicant says the accommodation will have less impact on the landscape than caravans.
Previous applications for putting static holiday caravans on the same site have been refused by the council due to the effect on the surrounding countryside, and subsequently rejected on appeal.
The new approach has won over the council and a report to the borough council’s planning and traffic committee tomorrow recommends it is approved subject to conditions.
The report, by planning officer Chris Moscrop, says: “Although the development of permanent static caravans on this site has been resisted in the past, I would advise you that the proposed approach appears to have addressed the concerns over landscape impact on the sensitive landscape designations adjoining this site. In particular the proposal has sought to ensure that the development is sited and designed so as to minimise impact on the landscape.”
Proposals met with local opposition
DESPITE winning over planning officers, Waterside’s proposals have been met with some opposition locally.
This includes the Sutton Poyntz Society which argues that there would be a negative impact on the Dorset AONB and Jordan Valley as the structures will be in place all year, unlike now when the site is almost near empty for at least half of the year.
It says the development goes against the society’s own policy about the preservation of views from the hills around Sutton Poyntz and consider it would cause ‘visual damage’.
A further seven protest letters have been received by the council highlighting issues such as the loss of the touring facilities at the park, claims the tents are another form of permanent structures, the structures would be visually intrusive and ‘incongruous’ tree planting out of character with the area.