Derbyshire glamping site’s bid rejected after complaints of noise and anti-social behavior

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The plans, submitted by Barry and Nicola Britland, were to build six glamping pods and two amenities blocks at the Racecourse Retreat campsite in Hey Lane, one mile from Wirksworth.

Mr Britland said existing camping had to stop and be replaced by glamping, to diversify the farm business ‘to make ends meet’.

However, a Derbyshire Dales District Council meeting chose to reject the plans due to the impact on the landscape and nearby residents.

The site in the Derbyshire countryside that already hosts camping and wanted to add glamping modules

Mark Gibson, a resident living near the site, said: ‘We’ve had two years of suffering with issues with a pop-up campsite at the same location and I think we have a good understanding of what’s to come.

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“We all suffer from noise and light pollution and general disturbances.

“Road safety is important, livestock are upset and the anti-social behavior we have already experienced – stone throwing, verbal abuse, littering and aggressive driving towards pedestrians

“It’s already impacting our lives without it running 365 days a year.”

Ms Andrea Croft, who lives nearby, said she and her neighbors were regularly affected by noise and traffic from the pop-up campsite in place at Racecourse Retreat.

She told the meeting: “We believe the applicant will continue to open not just for eco-pods, but as a campsite, with events, if planning permission is provided.

“We think the glamping pods are a smokescreen to get a foot in the door and expand the site later.

“The Racehorse Retreats Facebook page says they do hen parties, bachelor parties and large groups. Camper reviews on social media comment on the site’s ‘great festival vibes’.

She said the proposed equipment blocks far exceed what is needed to serve the proposed facilities.

Ms Croft also said music was played after 11pm and alcohol was on sale at the campsite, under temporary licenses.

She said: “The resulting noise makes life unbearable for people living in this local area.”

Mr Britland told the meeting his family had owned the site since the late 1950s, producing 3,000 bales of hay a year for animal feed – recently branching out into pumpkins.

He said: ‘Like many farmers, we are struggling to maintain our viability and need to diversify, so we have been camping through permitted development rights for extra income – just to try to make ends meet.’

Mr Britland confirmed that the campsite would be removed and that they were prepared to reduce the size of an amenity block or remove one altogether.

He said: “We didn’t have a fair chance, we didn’t ask for in-depth information, basically we just think we should have had better luck.

“The officer didn’t seem to want to work with us.

“We’re trying to make a high quality six pod that we can be proud of and would be happy to contribute to the local economy.”

Chris Whitmore, head of board development, said there were both technical and fundamental reasons why officials recommended the plans be denied.

He said: “Both technical and fundamental reasons for recommending the refusal

“The applicant mentioned that he felt he had been treated unfairly by the District Council, but when we have fundamental concerns about a proposal, the obligation to engage positively and proactively is considered to be best served by making decisions as soon as possible, because that gives the claimant the right to appeal that decision.

“It’s not going to solve the app’s fundamental problems.”

Mr Whitmore said the proposed location of the glamping pods, on a plateau in full view from the surrounding area, was not acceptable.

He said the plans would be “detrimental” to the enjoyment of area residents and their homes and that there was a lack of information about how they represented ecological value.

Cllr Peter Slack said the program would cause a “huge” traffic problem.

Cllr Richard FitzHerbert said he had a lot of sympathy for the candidates, saying: ‘I’m sure there’s a way forward here for something. Something could and should happen.

However, he could not support the current scheme.

Cllr David Hughes felt the same way, saying: “I think there’s an opportunity there, but the current scheme isn’t working.”

Cllr Neil Buttle was also keen to “find something that works for the candidate and works for us”.

Documents submitted by the claimant had detailed that the plan was to provide 140 campsites alongside the proposed glamping pods.

They also clarified that the pods would be available for “short breaks or on a weekly or bi-weekly basis” but could not be occupied as permanent residences.

The pods would be hexagonal-shaped “Arctic huts” and the amenity blocks would contain eight toilets, five showers and two toilets.

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