public forest campsites sold off
dave.bangs at virgin.net
Thu Dec 19 14:33:02 GMT 2013
Be vigilant. Development whether for high end recreation/resource extraction is coming to our forests and this past 2yrs the FC/DEFRA have been setting the scene to enable it to happen.
"Campsites on Forestry Commission land have been quietly sold to Lloyds Development Capital (LDC), part of Lloyds Banking Group, and campers at 2 sites are being given short notice to vacate without alternatives being provided.
Campers at Spiers House in Yorkshire and Thorpe Woodlands in Thetford Forest have both been told that their sites are closing on 31 October so that luxury lodges can be installed. The sites are currently used by families and older and disabled people for affordable holidays in this country.
Spiers House campers only found out after planning permission was granted because Forest Holidays' normal modus operandi is not to tell the site users about the planning application and so, normally, they only find out after planning permission has been granted, at which point it is too late.
The Thorpe users, of whom I am one, only found out about their planning application by accident.
When we started digging we also found out that:
(a) 7 campsites were sold to LDC in 2012
(b) Thorpe is the 4th campsite to be closed
(c) the Forestry Commission's minuted approval procedures have not been followed in all 4 cases
(d) the campsite closures aren't reported in minutes
(e) an Environmental Impact Assessment has been avoided for the Thorpe planning application due to the planning agents (Concept Town Planning Limited) using notional figures in the planning application instead of historical sites figures that Forest Holidays refuse to provide.
Dozens of us wrote to the Commissioners but they have said that they can't do anything.
Breckland Council's planning officer has now recommended the plans for approval based on notional figures of her own, that bear no resemblance to actual site usage figures.
The FC said that they would do an internal review, but they are closing the stable door after the horse has bolted as we have just discovered that 2 more campsites have been withdrawn from the 2014/5 brochure.
Our website can be found at www.savethorpecampsite.co.uk
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