Leisure plan jobs hope in balance

PUBLISHED: 10:12 18 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:16 17 June 2010

DISTRICT councillors congratulated a leisure business for a planning application creating new jobs in Weston but agreed a site inspection should take place before a decision is made. Councillors discussed the controversial application, submitted by M2 Ser

DISTRICT councillors congratulated a leisure business for a planning application creating new jobs in Weston but agreed a site inspection should take place before a decision is made.

Councillors discussed the controversial application, submitted by M2 Services Ltd for 17 residential units and an upgrade of bar and pool facilities at Stoneleigh Holiday Park during a Development Control Committee Meeting on Tuesday.

Two Weston residents, neighbouring holiday park owner and a Stoneleigh leaseholder, as well as a representative of Branscombe Parish Council appealed to the committee to reject the application.

David Hedges, who lives close to the site, said: "Stoneleigh is tired and in need of updating, however what is proposed is highly inappropriate.

"The core issue is the gross overdevelopment of the site by superimposing 17 units with total disregard for neighbours, location and aspect."

And Malcolm Thomas, a Stoneleigh leaseholder, said a covenant between the 38 leaseholders and the freeholders had been broken.

However Stephen Belli, development control manager, said this should not sway the councillors' decision as a covenant is a civil matter and was not within the remit of planning laws.

An agent of the developer said the company had worked closely with EDDC planning officers to come up with an application which would satisfy all planning rules.

He said the eight revisions were made in respect of neighbours' objections and that in fact 25 Stoneleigh leaseholders were in support of the application

But it was pointed out that no letters of support have been received by EDDC and the agent could not produce any evidence to back up this claim.

Councillor Green, Ward Member, said Stoneleigh was in need of improvement but not at the expense of the neighbours and the AONB.

He said an area outlined for parking should be removed as only a set of trees separated it from a neighbour's house and the lighting would be excessive.

Councillor Wragg said: "You wouldn't believe this was in a rural setting. It is like a housing estate and that is all it is."

But some committee members welcomed the move as 25 full time jobs would be created.

Councillor Buxton said: "This is a very welcome provision of facilities in a country area at a time when the credit crunch is biting hard- there is a company willing to invest a lot of money."

Councillor Liverton agreed but added that the numbers of objections were of concern and a site inspection was the best way to proceed.

The site inspection will take place on Friday, January 23.


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