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‘Luxury’ eco-lodge plans for former farm given green light by council

PUBLISHED: 06:30 03 September 2020

Plans for “innovative” eco-lodges and a natural swimming pool to encourage tourism into a rural area of Norfolk have been given the green light by a council. Pictured, Heath Road. Photo: Google

Plans for “innovative” eco-lodges and a natural swimming pool to encourage tourism into a rural area of Norfolk have been given the green light by a council. Pictured, Heath Road. Photo: Google

Archant

Plans for “innovative” eco-lodges and a natural swimming pool to encourage tourism into a rural area of Norfolk have been given the green light by a council.

Developer Oakstone Country Ltd applied to Breckland Council for full planning permission to build four eco-lodges on a former smallholding near Banham.

And following a meeting of the council’s planning committee, held on Tuesday, September 2, councillors unanimously gave the project the go-ahead.

The lodges will be constructed from eco-concrete - described as a “virtually cement-free” building material - and feature wood beams and a “compressed earth” roof.

READ MORE: £35m floating eco-resort plan for former quarry

A council planning report said: “The applicant aims to attract urban professionals looking for a luxury country break, focused on wellbeing and with an interest in sustainability and eco-tourism.”

Planning officer Naomi Minto told councillors the applicant had requested a change of use from a smallholding to leisure, and wanted to construct four detached two bedroom eco-holiday lodges and a natural swimming pool on the site, near Heath Road.

The land at Hilltop Cottage, would see a new access road built via Heath Road, and lies outside the settlement boundary of the village, in around 0.2 hectares.

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Members heard the site features a large pond with a tree-covered island and a barn from the site’s previous use as a smallholding.

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She said officers had received two letters of objection raising concerns regarding highway safety, location issues and stressing the limited demand for this type of facility.

But Ms Minto also noted the “uniqueness of the facilities proposed” and said the plans “offered a style of accommodation that is not widely offered in the district on land which has existing structures on it”.

And Stephen Askew, the Conservative councillor for Banham, added: “Highways have withdrawn their objection.”

He said: “The applicant has liaised with officers every step of the way for a considerable period to bring this project to fruition in an ideal location.

“I would like to thank them for their positive approach for encouraging tourism to the district. Breckland has much to offer to visitors and here is an innovative example of the means of delivering the Breckland experience.”

Members voted to unanimously approve the application.

READ MORE: Thorpe firm finds market in green tourism


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