A holiday park owner has finally succeeded in his bid to turn his lodges into permanent homes - after years of waiting.
Wolds Retreat Holiday Park in Brigg Road, Caistor, is set to become a residential site for people aged over 50.
West Lindsey District Council’s planning committee has given the green light to owner William Green’s application to remove conditions restricting permanent residential use.
The committee - which originally rejected the application - made a u-turn after Caistor Town Council, residents and business owners threw their support behind the proposal.
A petition, in favour of Mr Green’s plan, was signed by 28 businesses in the town and handed to WLDC.
It stated: “We the undersigned businesses of Caistor fully support the application for Wolds Retreat.
“As a town keen to support small business we welcome the footfall the site will create.”
Councillors approved the application subject to several conditions, including a regular bus service into the town centre, a contribution to affordable housing and a new public footpath.
West Lindsey District Council principal development manager George Backovic said: “The resolution to grant planning permission is subject to the completion of a section 106 legal agreement that delivers a regular bus service between the site and Caistor town centre, and a contribution to affordable housing.
“In addition a public footpath will need to be provided from the site to the existing footpath that links to Caistor on Brigg Road.”
WLDC received letters from 21 residents in support of the application.
One comment stated: “This is a well maintained, attractive and secure site and I would prefer to live next to a retirement park rather than a holiday park.”
Some members of the committee had concerns that had the original application been for housing development it would have been refused.
They said holiday accommodation would still support the local economy and this was ‘residential development by stealth’.
But these members acknowledged there was ‘overwhelming’ support for the proposals - and the previous reasons for refusal had been overcome, subject to the implementation of the footpath link and the delivery of a regular bus service.
Speaking at the planning committee meeting, Caistor town councillor Martin Sizer said the Wolds Retreat development had incurred ‘significant investment’ and that it was ‘struggling’ with financial return.
And he said the development would provide additional housing for the town without using greenfield land.
Also speaking at the meeting, resident and former Caistor town councillor, Kate Galligan, described how the application had been pending for 10 years and was engaged in meeting the needs of Caistor.
There are currently 14 cabins on the site - although it has planning permission for 60.
A statement in Wolds Retreat’s planning application said: “The applicant is confident, that with consent for the site to be occupied for residential purposes by persons over 50, there would be significantly increased interest and all of the remaining plots would be taken up relatively quickly.”
West Lindsey District Council’s planning committee meeting was held at Guildhall, Gainsborough on January 18.
‘People’s views have changed’
Back in September Caistor Town Council held an extraordinary meeting to discuss the application.
councillors, and about 30 members of the public who attended, backed the plans - despite earlier concerns about ISSUEs such as increased traffic.
Speaking after the meeting, mayor Carol Mackenzie said: “It was quite surprising that people’s views have changed. For us it would be beneficial if they (Wolds Retreat residents) supported the toWn. It was proposed As a site for people aged over 50 so IT wouldn’t cause any more pressure FOR schools.”