M5 caravan park expansion approved
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A caravan park near the M5 can expand and build a new fishing lake for tourists after Somerset councillors voted to grant permission.
The Bigwood family run the Westbrook Farm Caravan Park on Harp Road in Brent Knoll, around one mile north-east of Junction 22 for Highbridge.
The family applied to expand their business, creating space for new static pitches and timber chalets to the east of the existing camp and building a new fishing lake alongside them.
Sedgemoor District Council’s development committee has now given the proposal its backing, voting unanimously to approve the plans when it met in Bridgwater on Tuesday morning (September 14).
Under the plans, a further 47 static caravan pitches would be created, with nine timber chalets being arranged around the new fishing lake.
A total of 159 new car parking spaces and 85 cycle spaces will be formed on site, with the Bigwood's estimating that the expansion could create the equivalent of four new full-time jobs.
At the meeting on September 14, Councillor Stuart Kingham raised concerns about the impact this would have on the A38 and wider local road network.
“If this is granted today, you’re going to have a rather excessive number of vehicles going on the A38 by The Fox and Goose – which is already a very busy access.
“Even when people are arriving, they’ve got to cross the A38 – which even for normal people is bad enough. There’s no other junction.”
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Planning officer Dawn de Vries responded that Somerset County Council had “raised no objection” to the proposals – making it difficult for the district council to refuse the plans on these grounds.
The county council is currently planning a series of schemes with North Somerset Council to improve the A38 – including redesigning the Edithmead roundabout at Junction 22 to enhance traffic flow.
Councillor Tony Grimes – whose neighbouring Berrow ward includes a large number of camp-sites – welcomed the proposed expansion, arguing it would provide a boost to the local economy.
He said: “The site seems well-run, very tidy – and there are other sites on this road.
“In the interest of tourism in this area, I believe all the boxes have now been ticked. It will probably be a very good asset to the area.”
After less than 15 minutes’ debate, the committee voted unanimously to approve the plans.