ATTEMPTS by a New Forest holiday park to have all its accommodation available for guests year-round have been rejected over concerns it would worsen travel “carnage”.

Sandy Balls holiday village in Godshill, near Fordingbridge, hoped to remove a planning restriction limiting stays in 55 static caravan units at the site between February 1 and October 31 and instead provide the service all-year round.

The application was submitted by Away Resorts – which owns and operates Sandy Balls – and went to a New Forest National Park Authority planning committee meeting on Tuesday, July 19.

Prior to the meeting, two letters of objection were received from residents who cited the winter period as one of respite from the number of visitors.

Salisbury Journal: Chalet units in the north western part of Sandy Balls holiday park. Picture: Away ResortsChalet units in the north western part of Sandy Balls holiday park. Picture: Away Resorts

Representing the resort was Deborah Day who said the application had been lobbied following a “growing demand” for accommodation.

She said: “With the pandemic and the increase in the cost of living, staycations are more in need than ever.

“Sandy Balls is a well-established family site and [we are] keen to ensure that families can maximise the site throughout the year.”

The 55 units in question were among 108 new chalets granted in 2018. 53 of these are available for holiday use 12 months of the year, with the application hoping for the remaining 55 units to be allowed the same use.

Sandy Balls already has 330 accommodation units available all year-round.

Ann Cakebread, speaking on behalf of residents of Breach Acre, said: “Removing the remaining respite would roughly double the number of holidaymakers in this area during winter months.

“More people equals more activity, noise [and] lights.”

However, Ms Day said there would be no impact on light pollution, noise or visual amenity – citing the lack of objection from the environmental health officer.

Attention soon turned to impact on the local road networks and specifically Roger Penny Way, which was described by a member as an “absolutely notorious animal accident road”.

Salisbury Journal: Roger Penny Way in the New ForestRoger Penny Way in the New Forest

Planning member Richard Taylor said: “They expect 75 per cent of the additional traffic to go along Roger Penny Way during November, December and January which is peak months for squashing ponies. I really think this should have been taken into account.”

Writing about the meeting on social media, Cllr David Harrison added: “The big flaw in the plan to allow 12-month unrestricted use is that it would lead to more traffic using Roger Penny Way in the darker winter months, when we already have a completely unacceptable record of carnage, with ponies and other forest animals being struck on a frequent basis”.

Members voted unanimously in favour of refusal.

In response, residents on social media expressed mixed reactions. One person said: “Thank you for looking after the interests of our forest animals.”

Whereas another said: “We should be encouraging people from all over the world to come and visit our beautiful area – not doing all you can to discourage people.”