The development of a caravan site in Saddleworth has been rejected out of fear holiday lodges could look like 'bungalows' and damage the appearance of the landscape.

Moorlands Caravan Park on Ripponden Road has been run by the same family for more than 30 years.

The park contains a mixture of holiday homes, residential caravans, camping pods, tents and touring caravan pitches.

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In December 2020, owners of the site applied to change the use of 11 touring caravans and camping pods to make way for seven static holiday lodge caravans.

It followed a 2019 application, which was granted, to replace another touring camper van site to make way for nine static lodge caravans.

The applicant hoped with these applications it would then have 16 permanent holiday lodges in total, instead of 40 pitches for touring caravans and campers.

The Oldham Times: The holiday park outlined its lodges would look like this though also painted in earth tonesThe holiday park outlined its lodges would look like this though also painted in earth tones (Image: Oldham Council)

The plans also stipulated the site would benefit from landscaping, including hawthorn hedging, hazel, blackthorn, holly, guelder rose and honeysuckle bushes, while the lodges themselves would be finished in "muted earth tones of greens and browns".

This colour scheme was chosen as the applicant stated it was more in keeping with the character of the landscape of the area as opposed to its current use of touring caravans.

It was also suggested the lodges would be spaced at a minimum of six metres away from each other to ensure ample space and promote an "uncluttered" look.

Meanwhile, the lodges would have an external decking area with dedicated parking provision for each unit.

However, a planning review officer said the sitting of mobile homes on a permanent basis is "inappropriate" on green belt land.

The Oldham Times: These camping pods would have been removed to make way for the developmentThese camping pods would have been removed to make way for the development (Image: Oldham Council/Plan8townplanning)

The officer said static caravans "can appear as bungalows" as they are connected to services on a permanent basis and often have "domestic paraphernalia", such as decking, fences, washing lines and sheds, which "contribute to a significant change in the appearance of the site".

It was also stated that such lodges are typically "larger and modular" and are delivered by haulage to sit on "hardstanding" which, the officer argued, contrasts to a touring unit which is towed from one site to the next and sits in a "pleasant grassed field".

The report argued the lodges would pose an "unacceptable urbanising impact on the visual amenity and verdant character" of the area.

In addition, the officer outlined the proposal would make way for permanent residencies, which could impact local amenities such as schools and hospitals, while posing "no tourism benefit" to Saddleworth.

Moorlands Caravan Park was also found to have breached its 2019 planning permission as the mobile homes erected were "not in the approved locations" nor were they "orientated as per the approved plans".

The report reveals the applicant should have removed 11 touring pitches as part of the initial application and landscaping should have been carried out "prior to the occupation of any of the mobile homes".

As such, Oldham Council refused the latest plan on September 26 this year, citing that the addition of seven new homes would be "inappropriate" to the development of the green belt.

Moorlands Caravan Park has been approached for comment.

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