Wild Ken Hill, a farm in Norfolk, England renowned for hosting BBC’s Springwatch, Autumnwatch, and Winterwatch, has been granted approval for a significant expansion by West Norfolk Council’s planning committee. The expansion plans faced concerns over potential traffic problems in the area but ultimately gained approval.
The approved plans include the conversion of existing farm buildings to create a cafe, retail space, and an indoor play area.
Additionally, a 10-yurt glamping pitch will be constructed on the site between Heacham and Snettisham.
The planning committee had previously reviewed the plans in April but postponed their decision to gather more information from Norfolk County Council’s highways department.
Wild Ken Hill has been the home of BBC’s flagship nature programs for three years. Henry Head, the director of neighboring business Norfolk Lavender, raised concerns that the proposed development might lead to “significantly increased danger” from vehicles turning right at Lamsey Lane, which joins the busy A149.
He urged the committee to defer the application until Norfolk County Council, responsible for highways, decides on potential improvements to the junction later this year. He added, “In the late 1960s, there was a road safety poster with the strapline ‘keep death off the road’. I urge you to do that.”
However, Paul Rawlinson from Heacham Parish Council informed the committee that their previous objections had been revised to neutral, as they were confident County Hall would make the necessary improvements.
Independent group councilor Simon Ring argued that the application should not be delayed. He stated, “The work that Wild Ken Hill is doing is of national importance, and we can’t keep deferring the matter because we are waiting for Norfolk County Council to come up with the funds to build a long-awaited safety junction. The more pressure we can put on the county council, the better.” The plans were approved unanimously.
The glamping industry in West Norfolk is diverse and vibrant, offering a range of unique accommodations for those seeking a luxury camping experience. Notable glamping sites in the area include Diglea Holiday Park, offering luxurious safari tents; Happy Valley Norfolk, providing a dark skies experience; and Hengrave Meadow Glamping, Amber’s Bell Tent Camping, Whitlingham Broad Campsite, and Wild Luxury.
The glamping industry has experienced significant growth over the past decade, with short-term glamping rentals increasing by 310% and glamping brands by 290%. The industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.80% and reach a market value of USD 8.041 billion by 2029.
As glamping continues to gain popularity among travelers seeking unique and immersive experiences, business owners in the outdoor hospitality industry should take note of the potential benefits that come with expanding their offerings.
While incorporating elements such as cafés, retail spaces, and indoor play areas can attract a wider range of visitors, it’s vital to consider the impact of such expansions on the surrounding environment and local infrastructure. In the case of Wild Ken Hill, addressing traffic concerns and collaborating with local authorities were key steps in gaining approval for their expansion.
By keeping an open dialogue with the community and being proactive in addressing potential issues, glamping business owners can pave the way for successful, sustainable growth that benefits both their business and the local area.