A LEISURE parks company has had its application to create a touring caravan site next to Clapham Railway Station turned down by North Yorkshire Council.

Cunningham Leisure Parks wanted to change the use of land, formerly a goods yard, to create a site for 13 touring caravan pitches, but had the proposed development refused on three grounds; that it would jar with the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), its impact on nearby heritage assets, and on a residential dwelling.

In addition to the caravan pitches, Cunningham Leisure also proposed two pitches for prefabricated units to house a manager and a 'facilities unit', with access to be shared with the existing, lodges site next door, Great Harlow Views.

Also proposed was a three metre wide track through the centre of the site to service the pitches, a new 1.8metre high palisade fence inside the south-west boundary, with low level hedging and shrubs inside the fence. There was also to be tree planting while existing mature trees at the roadside boundary were to be kept.

A planning officer's report, in recommending refusal of the scheme, describes the site as rural within the Forest of Bowland ANOB, close to the grade two listed Flying Horse Shoe Hotel, now apartments, with residential properties close-by and also the River Wenning.

In 2020, a plan to site five holiday lodges at the former goods yard was refused by the then Craven District Council and rejected on appeal, due to its impact on the character and appearance of the area.

Clapham Parish Council objected to the touring caravan site plans, commenting that the site was not 'vacant' and citing the same refusal reasons for the proposed, rejected lodges. The proposals generated 12 local representations, none in support, and raising issues including impact on the AONB, light pollution, impact on Clapham and wildlife and the visual impact on train passengers.

Neither Network Rail or North Yorkshire Highways raised objections.

Planning officer Ros Parker in their report said however; "The proximity and visibility of the caravans/camper vans will result in a prominent, visually inappropriate form of development at the centre of the hamlet that jars visually with the traditional surroundings of the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and fails to enhance local distinctiveness."

It would also 'dilute the openness and general rural character of the setting of the Grade two listed railway waiting room and grade two listed Flying Horse Shoe Hotel' and noise impact on Moorland View.

In its submissions to the council, agents for Cunningham Leisure said the proposal would create a long-term ecologically improved site, that would improve in the coming years, and there would be no new buildings, foundations or structures.

It stated: "The tourism benefits are clear, with the potential of 13 caravans all year round visiting the site, for holiday purposes, under control of the manager. The proximity of the train station is a major benefit for wider tourism."