Caravans at Inwood Farm – Planning Application

In December, Inwood Farm at Nether Stowey, which already holds an extensive and very obtrusive caravan site, sought planning consent for the provision of more caravan pitches and continuation of the existing site for use by Hinkley workers until the end of 2025. 

Although just outside the AONB boundary we felt that the scheme has such an impact on the local landscape that we should look to see how it fitted into Sedgemoor Local Plan policies and then we submitted the following Comment. At the time of writing the application is still being considered by the planners.


Comment on Application 36/22/00024 – Inwood Farm, Nether Stowey.

1. The application is for “Change of use of agricultural field for the provision of 103no. caravan pitches for use by HPC workers until the end of 2025” and other related matters. We recognise the requirement for workforce accommodation and the practical merits of the location of this site in that regard. However, we  do not consider that adequate consideration has been given to its negative effects on the Quantock Hills AONB, nor that it complies with relevant policies in the adopted Local Plan. 

2. We note that continuing delays in construction at Hinkley suggest that it would be wise to assume a significantly longer duration of use. Further, we note that The Planning, Design and Access Statement states that “The additional caravan pitches and the existing provision will be made available to Hinkley Point C construction workers until the end of 2025, after which they will be made available for tourist use.” This is therefore envisaged as a permanent change of use of the site.  

3. Sedgemoor Local Plan 2011-32 Policy CO1 Countryside states “Where development proposals in the countryside are not addressed by other policies of the Local Plan, new development must demonstrate that there are specific countryside needs, such as those of the local agricultural industry and local food producers, enhancement of the environment or where a countryside location is essential or more sustainable.” No evidence has been advanced that this location meets specific countryside needs, nor that it is essential or more sustainable than any other. That being so due consideration should be given to addressing its negative effects.

4. Policy MIP2 Hinkley Point C: Associated and Ancillary Development states “In responding to proposals for development associated with or ancillary or related to the Hinkley Point C project where the Council is the decision maker, the Council will take into account through the planning application process the degree to which the proposals achieve the outcomes set out at (a) to (f) below.” Paragraph (f) states “The delivery of investment in infrastructure, buildings and green infrastructure that would have long lasting benefits, contributing to creating attractive, prosperous and safe communities, as well as serving the needs of the development.” We consider that no aspect of the proposal delivers these requirements.  

5. Policy D19 Landscape states “Development proposals within the Mendip Hills AONB, the Quantock Hills AONB or on undeveloped coast will only be supported where they conserve and enhance the natural beauty, or the exceptional character or quality of the landscape in these areas. Development within the setting of an AONB that has the potential to harm the character and visual amenity of the protected landscape will only be supported if that potential harm can be negated through appropriate and acceptable mitigation measures.” And….”Where a significant adverse effect cannot be avoided or markedly reduced through mitigation, then opportunities to offset, remedy or compensate for unavoidable effects will be a requirement.” This is a development proposal within the setting of the AONB but no appropriate and acceptable mitigation or compensation measures are proposed. 

6. We support the view of Nether Stowey Parish Council that “The existing site is highly visible from numerous points in the surrounding area” and we note the Parish Council’s comment with respect to the planting of mature screening trees but, even if practicable and enforced, this will not screen from views on the higher hills. Further, as the Parish Council comments, the screening condition of the original application (36/18/00006), including screening from views from the Quantock Hills AONB, has never been implemented.

7. We recommend that if the Council is minded to grant consent then, to meet the requirement of Policy D19, compensation measures be required in the form of significant landscaping tree planting with public access to be undertaken by a third party such as Stowey Green Spaces or the Parish Council so as to provide a permanent asset to the local community.

8. We also support the Parish Council’s comments with respect to lighting during the life of the site should it be consented and on decommissioning to a pastoral agricultural use. 


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