Planning inspector says caravans can stay

December 22 2016

CARAVAN owners are celebrating after a planning inspector ruled that a storage facility on the edge of Yate can remain in use.

CARAVAN owners are celebrating after a planning inspector ruled that a storage facility on the edge of Yate can remain in use.

Last year, hundreds of people signed a petition asking for the site to continue at Beech Hill Farm, Westerleigh.

South Gloucestershire Council wanted stored caravans to be removed but families who kept their vehicles there said there was nowhere else locally for them to go.

They said other similar businesses were full and they would have to keep their caravans on residential roads instead, which could cause problems on busy streets.

Although caravans had been kept at the facility for many years, planning permission had twice been refused for the operation and an enforcement notice issued to clear the site.

But Deborah Martin, who runs the business, appealed and planning inspector Susan Ashworth has now said the use can continue.

Ms Ashworth said: “It is acknowledged that caravans have been stored at the site since at least 2004.

“There has been a considerable level of support for the use during the application and appeal process from Dodington Parish Council and numerous local residents.

“It is apparent from all I have seen and read that many local families use the facility to store their caravans and have come to rely on it.”

She said the council’s view was there was no need for people to keep caravans, while  acknowledging the site fulfilled a genuine local need.

But she said: “Nevertheless, caravan ownership is popular and, for many reasons, is the only viable holiday option available to some members of the community, including those who are disabled.

“I accept that caravans could be stored at home or on the street. However, this may not always be an available or appropriate option as a result of, for example, tenancy agreements or covenants.

“It seems to me that keeping caravans in such a facility is preferential to the potential alternative of keeping caravans on the street, where they could cause an obstruction to the free flow of traffic.

“Given the absence of any evidence of suitable, available, alternative sites in the locality, the provision of the facility provides a social benefit to which I give considerable weight.”