Caravan park extended opening raises concern

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PARISH councillors were concerned about workers using a caravan park if its opening period was extended to 11 months of the year.

But last Thursday, members of Northumberland County Council’s North Area Planning Committee unanimously approved the change to allow Honeysuckle Cottage Caravan Park in Widdrington to open from January until November.

Widdrington Village Parish Council objected to the changes as it felt they were to accommodate workers, who already have a designated site nearby, when the initial scheme was for a holiday park.

At the meeting, parish councillor James Grant said: “I can’t see anyone wanting to go on holiday in a caravan in November, January or February.

“There’s already a specific park which is only for workers within a few hundred yards of Honeysuckle Caravan Park.”

But planning officer Vivienne Robinson explained that no conditions were placed on the original eight-month opening period to limit the site to holidaymakers only.

She also said that an 11-month opening was in line with national guidelines that prevent permanent year-round residency.

Coun Trevor Thorne said: “I’m aware of many caravan operators in Northumberland that have this 11-month rule so that they don’t become permanent dwellings as they have to vacate for one month.

“This brings Honeysuckle Cottage Caravan Park up to speed with other caravan parks in Northumberland.”

Coun Grant also said that the parish council had received complaints from residents and that the opening period had been ignored in the past.

He added that if the change was approved, the county council would be rewarding a business which has flaunted the current planning conditions.

One of the applicants explained that this had happened only once when the business was first taken over due to confusion over the conditions.

“Honeysuckle Cottage Caravan Park has not been contacted by the parish council on any issues and we are quite happy to work with it,” she added.