James Lea of Stonerocks Farm, Bolney (United Kingdom) said that he was dissatisfied with the decision of the Planning Committee to reject his glamping proposal, especially as the planning officers had recommended his application be approved.
According to a report, Lea and his sister inherited the farm about two years ago, after their father’s death.
Lea added that a tremendous amount of consideration and time went into the application, including hiring a landscape architect, looking at where to plant wildflowers and hedgerows, and enhancing the application’s local landscape.
“We will appeal. It was written up for approval by the council’s planning officers, so we are hopeful of a different outcome at appeal.”
The pods, which are 3 meters high, were called “posh sheds” by one councilor, while Judy Llewellyn-Burke, who has lived near the farm for more than 20 years, warned that allowing pods to be built will alter the appearance of the landscape entirely for the worse.
However, Lea said that the idea was to go further than just installing pods.
He added that their ambition with the farm is to breathe some life into it, as it hasn’t been used for the past ten years.
“Preserving and indeed trying to enhance the local landscape is incredibly important to us.”
Another issue raised by the committee was the fact that the farm is located within one of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
This was a justification for refusing an application, even though they had a letter by officers stating that the plans would support the rural area’s economy while preserving the rural landscape and conserving an AONB.
Lea stated that they are aware that this part of Mid Sussex is very special and are keen to keep it this way.
“Our ambition with Stonerocks is to generate some modest income from the farm and to re-invest this income back into the site.”
“Our view remains that this is an appropriate use of the land, which causes minimal impact, preserves the setting, follows the local planning policy framework, and will allow for us to maintain the farm going forward.”