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Thursday, 22 April 2021
LODGES could be built at the Swiss Farm holiday park in Henley to help relieve the pressure of the coronavirus pandemic.
The business, off Marlow Road, has operated a camping field since the Fifties.
Now managing director Joseph Borlase is seeking planning permission to introduce 24 timber lodges and turn it into a bespoke five-star facility with self-catering.
He said: “The covid-19 pandemic has significantly and detrimentally affected the business and culminated in the holiday park being closed for most of the 2020 season.
“Due to the social distancing requirements with government legislation and guidance, this does create significant issues due to the nature of shared facilities within touring park amenity buildings.
“Therefore there is a need to create more spacious facilities within existing buildings and between pitches to comply and also to ensure that holidays can be undertaken with the minimum amount of risk.
“This will also involve significant financial expenditure for the park, undertaking the restructuring of the facilities. This proposal will safeguard existing employment and provide much-needed and safer facilities at the holiday park.”
The plan includes:
• A total of 23 bespoke holiday lodges manufactured from timber in muted colours.
• A low-density informal layout with significant additional planting and landscaping.
• Significant boundary buffer planting and internal landscaping.
The application says the development would generate about £614,000 per year for the local economy.
A design and access statement says: “The quality of facility proposed would significantly help raise the standards of holiday accommodation offered in the region. There is a very strong local and national trend towards higher quality holidays, especially for more spacious and better equipped holiday accommodation.
“Holidaymakers’ demands and aspirations have risen rapidly over the last 20 years. The applicant wishes to attract these holidaymakers with higher disposable incomes who appreciate the qualities of the area.
“Developments of this nature are the exact opposite and in stark contrast to conventional holiday park layouts with the units located very close together in regimented rows, which have a huge impact on visual amenity and are significantly less desirable in the tourism market.
“The proposal respects the site and its surroundings in that the style is fully screened and that it is sited within an existing tourism and leisure development.
“The size and scale of the proposed lodges are low single-storey units and subordinate in size and scale to the existing buildings and dwellings in the area.”
There would be facilities for disabled guests, with mains services provided. The lodges would be accessed from the existing driveway, which leads to the A1455. Access would be monitored by reception staff and the business plans to install a new CCTV system.
Car parking would be adjacent to individual lodges and each lodge would be provided with an electric vehicle charging point with solar panels.
Mr Borlase says his plan would not be detrimental to Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
A landscape and visual impact assessment, carried out by Lockhart Garratt, states the development would not have a significant or long-term impact on the character of the site or the surroundings.
The Environment Agency has categorised the area as flood zone 1, which means there is a one-in-1,000 chance of flooding.
The holiday park, which has been owned by the Borlase family since 1946, usually has an average of 65 tents in use and has five-star platinum status.
South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, is due to make a decision by March 10.
01 February 2021
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