An application for a ‘timber lodge holiday park’ has been submitted for a field next to Fineshade Wood.
The greenfield site is directly opposite the mid-eighteenth century Grade II listed Top Lodge house and historic farm buildings and looks set to be a contentious site given its rural nature and proximity to the much-loved forest.
The application to East Northamptonshire Council is says the proposed 32 timber lodges would be used for holiday lets.
Planning consultants RPS have submitted the application for the 1.2 hectare site on behalf of Nottingham-based Countrywide Park Homes, an operator of residential park homes across the country.
A statement submitted as part of the application states: “It is proposed to develop up to 32 high quality timber lodges at the site under the definition of a caravan. Each caravan would be accompanied with decking and the provision of two parking spaces.
“Access would be taken from the unnamed road which would continue to be shared with the Forestry Commission Offices and Stamford Caravan and Motorhome Club.
“No other structures, including toilet blocks, are proposed as they would not be required.
“The lodges would utilise materials that are sympathetic and complimentary to the existing site.
“The proposal seeks to invest in, improve on and raise the standard and quality of tourism offer at the site’s location.
“The development will result in a new site for tourism use which would provide a significant contributor to the local economy.”
The report to planners adds that there will be ‘no significant harm’ to the vale of the landscape as there will be no loss of important features or elements.
Thousands of people from across the county and beyond visit beautiful Fineshade Wood every year. Some sections of the woodland are part of the ancient Rockingham Forest.
The land is currently owned by Donna Barney who is the director of Countrywide Park Homes along with her husband Tony Barney.
It was sold to Mrs Barney, then of Fineshade Abbey, in 2011 for £73,000.
The application was submitted on Monday (February 11) and has already attracted one objection from a represntative of Duddington-and-Fineshade parish council.
A previous application for tented camping on the same field was submitted and subsequently withdrawn in 2015. Another application for ‘glamping pods’ was thrown out by planners in 2014.
A separate application, by Forest Holidays for a site inside Fineshade Wood, was also refused on planning grounds.
You can view the latest application and comment on it here