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Bircham Newton campsite plan submitted

Plans for a new campsite close to a West Norfolk tourist attraction have been submitted.

The operators of Bircham Windmill are seeking permission to run a seasonal site with pitches for 35 tents and 10 tents or small campervans at any one time on land at The Meadow in Docking Road, Bircham Newton.

But the village’s borough representative has called for the West Norfolk Council planning committee to determine the application, amid divided public opinion on the proposal.

Planning Applications (1887694)
Planning Applications (1887694)

Documents submitted as part of the application to the borough council said the land was used as a pop-up site last summer for the maximum 56 days allowed without planning consent.

They continued: “The operation was known to the planning department and licensing officer prior to its opening and inspected by Norfolk’s chief planning enforcement officer during the season.

“All were satisfied with the running of the site and no complaints have been received from the council or police.”

The application said the site would operate along similar lines this year, if the application is approved, with work on an amenity building to provide permanent toilets, showers, an indoor recreation area and storage, plus an electricity connection, expected to be completed by the summer of 2022.

However, a number of residents have already voiced objections, raising concerns over issues including noise, highway safety and visual and environmental impact.

One suggested the applicants, Mr and Mrs Stevie and Elly Chalmers, should instead look to expand their existing campsite at the windmill site, rather than expanding to a second one.

And the village’s ward councillor, Chris Morley, has already called in the application for determination by the borough council’s planning committee.

He said there was “wide public interest” in the case and the parish council had requested more time to consider its own response, following a special meeting held before Christmas.

Borough council planning officials have indicated they hope a decision will be reached by mid to late February.

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