Scores of objections over council’s scaled down plans for caravan site at West Stow

Proposed West Stow campsite ANL-151116-163918009
Proposed West Stow campsite ANL-151116-163918009
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Fifty four objections have been raised over a council’s scaled down plans for a caravan and camping site at West Stow Country Park.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council wants to build 100 camping and caravan pitches on the 6 Ha site to generate income and increase use of the park’s visitor centre, cafe and Anglo Saxon Museum.

It previously abandoned plans for a 180 pitch site to conduct further environmental assessments after receiving nearly 80 objections.

The new plans include additional buffer zones to reduce impacts on wildlife as the park is bounded on three sides by the Breckland Special Protection Area and Breckland Forest Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) - home to night jar, woodlark and stone curlew ground nesting bird species.

However, the council has received 54 letters of objection from residents and groups concerned about the adverse impact on wildlife and tranquility of the land with increased visitors, traffic and noise.

Natural England said it did not object to the revised plan and ‘the SPA is not likely to be significantly affected’. It said though it is ‘not possible to rule out effects to the birds entirely, particularly since campsites predominantly operate within the bird breeding season’.

The Suffolk Wildlife Trust said the development would result in a net loss of suitable reptile habitat in the park and there should be pre-construction surveys for water vole.

Bernard Tickner, who created the nearby Fullers Mill Garden and is vice president of the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, said: “I fear the noise generated by it will drive away the occupants of this peaceful community. I fear for the woodpeckers and the nuthatch. I fear for the nightjars and the woodlarks which nest here.”

Richard Capewell, chief executive of charity Perennial which manages Fullers Mill, said the garden will be ‘adversely affected’.

Peter Lawson, of Ashbocking, objected to the ‘urbanisation of one of St Edmundsbury’s flagship award winning country park/open spaces’.

Michael Schultz, of Bury, said the ‘comings and goings’ of campers, cars and their pets would ‘represent a significant threat to the tranquil, remote and undeveloped quality’ of the park.

An ecological appraisal commissioned by the council said the campsite would have ‘no likely significant effect’ on Breckland SPA or other SSSIs.

The plans will be discussed by the development control committee on December 3.