THE owners of a West Craven caravan park have had their expansansion plans approved, following a successful appeal to the Government's Planning Inspectorate.

In April last year, Nathan and Mandy Hudson's plans to add more than 40 additional touring caravan pitches at Lower Greenhill Farm in Kelbrook Road, Salterforth, were thrown out by the West Craven Committee of Pendle Council, despite an officer recommendation to approve the plans, which had been scaled down to 44 from an original 61. Councillors described the scheme as a 'blot on the West Craven landscape'.

Now, a Government planning inspector has allowed the Hudson's appeal and overturned the council's refusal decision.

In their decision notice, the inspector allows plans for the change of use of agricultural land for 46 caravan pitches together with the erection of a new amenity and shower block.

The inspector carried out two site visits, one in February, and another in March, when visibility was better and when the inspector was better able to see the surroundings and more distant views.

The main issue, noted the inspector, was the effect of the proposed development on the character and appearance of the surrounding area, which is open countryside and lies within a drumlin field landscape.

The additional pitches will be next to existing pitches and caravans, but higher up, meaning they could be 'more prominent' said the inspector, who added: "However, in addition to screening provided by existing landscape features such as the woodland to the north-east and the hill to the south-west, extensive landscaping has also been proposed by the appellant. This would further assist in the assimilation of the proposal within the rural surrounds both from immediate and long distance viewpoints."

In allowing the appeal, the inspector has added conditions including the provision of minimum parking and turning spaces, and the implementation of a landscaping scheme.

In addition, no development will be allowed until a surface water sustainable drainage strategy and construction surface water management plan has been approved by Pendle Council, which the inspector says is necessary in the 'interests of flood risk'.