A HOLIDAY park operator is “hugely disappointed” with a council decision to refuse its plan to open all its accommodation to guests year-round.

Away Resorts, who own Sandy Balls holiday village near Fordingbridge, said the refusal by the New Forest National Park Authority planning committee was a missed opportunity to “support economic growth” in the region.

As reported, the applicants had 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.

Their hopes were dashed, however, when the planning committee expressed concerns that the increase in unit availability would add to the traffic and safety woes on Roger Penny Way – 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 the proposed additional months of unit availability would coincide with “peak months for squashing ponies”.

At the meeting, Away Resorts representative Deborah Day had asked the committee to defer the application decision until the next planning meeting in order for the operator to further investigate the transport impacts of the year-round chalet proposals.

She suggested they could look into mitigating risk to animals with improved signage.

These attempts ultimately failed and the application was unanimously refused.

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

In response to the refusal, an Away Resorts spokesperson said: “As the largest employer in the area, we were hugely disappointed with the decision to refuse a 12-month license for a proportion of the park used for hire fleet and owners.

“Whilst the decision cited a rise in traffic and visitation, the proposal would also have supported a number of employees from seasonal into year-round employment.

“The additional utilisation of holiday homes would also continue to support economic growth of the region and the New Forest economy.”

The spokesperson could not confirm whether Away Resorts would appeal the decision or submit a fresh application, adding they were “still considering their position”.


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