The owner of a family campsite built on a derelict farm says it will have a bright future despite the local council issuing an enforcement notice to tear down its facilities and stop all holiday activity.
George and Charlotte Sanderson created a resort boasting tent pitches, bell tents, secluded glamping pod with private garden, and a woodland lodge after buying land in Poulton-le-Fylde. They bought it from owners who inherited it and moved to America before transforming it in a wildlife-lovers haven with woodland trails, play area and farm animals including pigs, piglets, chickens, goats, swans and sheep which roam happily in the farm’s meadows and fields.
George estimates it has helped add around £25,000 into the local economy but the business was hit with an enforcement notice in May ordering it stop using and remove any tents, the pod, lodge and shower block within six months. The notice says they were installed without permission and as such are not allowed to remain in use.
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A swift appeal was lodged but the issue is yet to be decided by the Government’s Planning Inspectorate and there is no indication when this will happen. In the meantime, the family are continuing to operate and anticipating a busy summer at the Bowses Hill Farm.
George told LancsLive he is confident the appeal will be successful, with significant efforts put into compiling reports on noise, traffic and sound issues in a bid to satisfy any issues raised during the appeal process. And he says that if the enforcement is upheld, the resort will continue to operate under permitted development legislation. This means the site can continue to be used for this purpose, but only for a limited number of days each year.
George said: “We’ve put in a lot of effort and the last thing we want is to not operate as we should do. Either way, there is going to be a campsite, it’s just whether the council will support our long term aims.
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“In my eyes, there’s been a lot stuff that’s had to take place which on a normal application you wouldn’t need, which is absolutely fine. About smoke, noise, car speeds, all these things we wouldn’t need to do in a normal application, because there’s some residents that have raised concerns we’ve had to do more than you would normally do.
“But in support of it, we want people to be confident and comfortable in us. We want to work with and benefit the community.”
George believes there is opposition from a neighbouring campsite whose concerns about noise are misguided and says he has won over some of the neighbours who initially were concerned about the plans. Some remain against it and George says he struggles to understand why.
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Nonetheless, the dad-of-six says he is happy to talk with anyone about their issues and welcomed them to get in touch. He added: “No-one likes change but the nation is growing more and more. You’re going to have entrepreneurial individuals who are going to rub people up the wrong way but if someone wants to follow their dream, you can either listen to people saying no or go for it.”
Explaining the origins of the attraction, he previously told LancsLive: “We wanted to buy land with loads of space for our six children to run free. “We started with just the one camping field with no facilities, just completely back to basics and I just went on social media to see if anyone fancied wild camping. They loved it as they could do a bit of bushcraft and everything just grew from there.
“It’s not every day you can enjoy your morning coffee or pitch your tent six-foot from baby piglets. The animals are really good and popular with the kids.”
George’s long-term goal is to open five more campsites, with the hope of passing one to each of his children so they can run their own business if they choose. But for now, the focus is to make sure his campers are happy and winning the long-term vitality of Bowses Hill Farm.
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published 2021-06-21 12:00:00