PLANS to expand a Ribble Valley caravan park by a further 62 caravans on 17 hectares of land (42 acres) at Paythorne have been refused.

Twin Ghyll Caravan Park at Paythorne, near Gisburn, failed to persuade the planning committee at Ribble Valley Borough Council to allow the change of use of the land to include the siting of the caravans as well as include building a sewerage treatment plant and pumping station and carrying out other work at the site.

The caravan park currently has a licence for 325 caravans on an existing similar-sized plot.

Speaking at the meeting for applicant, Park Leisure 2000 Ltd, Simon Pembleton said: "This plan would help to protect jobs, create additional employment and boost the local economy. These would be significant benefits measured against the relatively low impact of the extended site. Overall, this plan accords fully with the policies of the local plan and I ask you to approve it.”.

Objector Stella Rosthorn, clerk at Newsholme and Paythorne Parish Council, said: "This plan goes against key policies regarding the local economy, community amenity, the landscape and environmental factors. It should be refused. This plan would adversely impact amenities in the area. There would be a loss of open spaces. It will not encourage people to walk, cycle or get public transport because the only way to travel there is by car. Expansion of the park is not required to support existing jobs."

“More environmental consideration is needed. How will this contribute to the borough’s targets of reducing its carbon footprint or supporting biodiversity and geodiversity? Historical and environmental issues will not be considered.”

Conservative Councillor Richard Sherras agreed with concerns and recommended refusal. He said: “There are several large caravan sites in my ward and there are others elsewhere in the borough. But none are as dominant in the local settlement as this would be.”

Conservative Coun Kevin Horkin also shared the worries and said: “I have rarely seen such a barrage of objections from the community. I think the recommendation to refuse is right.”

More than 60 objections have been received including from Paythorne Parish Council, the Woodland Trust, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and Bowland Game-Fishing Association.

Conservative Cllr Stella Brunskill added: “I would like to endorse what has been said tonight. I think refusal is the right decision.”

A recommendation by officers to refuse the plans was upheld in a vote by planning committee members.