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Planning ruling overturned

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: December 15, 2013

By Leslie Jackson

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A FARMER'S daughter can now move her tourist business forward after a planning inspector overruled a decision by Staffordshire Moorland District Council which blocked permission for the provision of holiday accommodation on farmland at Cauldon.

The appeal was made by Catherine Webster, the owner of award- winning Secret Cloud House Holidays, against an enforcement notice preventing her from offering accommodation in 'yurt-style' tents at Limestone View Farm in Stoney Lane.

The three moveable yurts and a wooden yurt each provided sleeping accommodation, and had external earth closet toilet in a detached hut with log store, bench and decking, which planners believed breached planning controls.

The council issued an enforcement notice against the development which would potentially devastate the business income.

Ms Webster brought in planning expert Berrys to fight the judgement and senior planning consultant Peter Fenwick lodged an appeal saying that the yurts did not detract from the quality of the landscape, and followed national planning policy in supporting sustainable and new economic development which creates jobs and helps sustain communities.

Mr Fenwick said: "This is victory for tourism in the area.

"The ruling will allow Ms Webster to continue with provision of quality holiday accommodation in yurt-style tents and will also allow other structures on the farm such as hard-standings, toilets, lodges, shower blocks hot tubs decking and barbecues to remain.

"In the planning appeal we pointed out that the venture is a useful diversification on the farm, providing employment for local people, and it had received many letters of support from local residents and local suppliers and businesses."

In over-ruling the decision planning inspector David Murray said he was satisfied that the accommodation features were of a quality design that did not detract from the landscape.

The development did not create a traffic problem and it also helps support other tourism ventures locally and contributes to the local economy.

The appeal was allowed and the enforcement notice quashed, and planning permission was granted for the mixed use for agriculture and provision of holiday/guest accommodation.

Ms Webster said: "After a change in circumstances, I was struggling to relocate my tourism business. I was recommended Berrys and after the first phone call I immediately had peace of mind that they knew what they were doing. Three months on and I have full planning permission and am looking to the future again with excitement as I carry on moving my business forward."

Ward councillor Edwin Wain, who also has the responsibility of planning at the district council, said: "As ward councillor I supported this from the start.

"I am now very pleased that permission has been granted by the inspector.

"The business is for about six months of the year and does not cause any harm. It brings in many tourists to the district, which then in turn helps many businesses in the area."

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