Planning inspectorate rejects Atherfield Bay holiday park appeal

The Planning Inspectorate has upheld an appeal by the developers after plans plans for a holiday park at Atherfield Bay were rejected by the Isle of Wight council.

atherfield holiday camp

This in from Cllr Seely, in his own words. Ed

The National Planning Inspectorate has today (Weds) upheld a decision to block a controversial development on the Isle of Wight’s Heritage coastline.

Cllr Bob Seely, whose ward covers the remote Atherfield Bay site and who campaigned against the intrusive development, said he was delighted.

“This is the right decision. We need to keep the Island as a special place to live and visit, so development has to be sensitive and enhance our Island. This detracted from it.”

The Council’s Planning Department initially supported the development. However, at a heated Planning Committee meeting on 18 February 2014 councillors were persuaded by local residents and Cllr Seely to overrule the Planning Department and vote against it.

Some 64 residents – almost all the people living within the immediate vicinity of the Atherfield bay site – signed a petition against the development.

Cllr Seely said,

“I think it’s important that the Council are ready to fight poor quality development rather than think that we have no choice but to accept it. We are under real pressure from developers to push through schemes. This decision shows that we can fight and win.”

The development sparked controversy for three reasons. First, the number of houses; the developer wanted to build over 90 units of holiday accommodation in semi-permanent bungalows. Second the plans significantly increased the built area of the site. Third, the bungalows, which were built on concrete bases, would be inhabited 52-weeks per year.

Cllr Seely said,

“We all accept that there is going to be development on this site – it’s a brownfield site – but it has got to be the right type of development. The development looked too much like a housing estate and too little like a holiday camp.”

The Bristol-based Planning Inspectorate’s report made specific reference to the effect on the environment, saying that:

“The scale, intensity and extent of the development would be wholly out of keeping with its surroundings. The current development is relatively low key; what is now proposed is much more extensive and intensive to the extent that it would be severely harmful to the landscape and scenic beauty of the AONB.” (Point 17, page 3)
The report also said that “the proposals would harmfully degrade this section of the Heritage Coast.” (Point 20, page 4)

Cllr Seely said,

“I look forward to plans for this site which generate wealth for the Island in all senses of the word. This is a unique site, so let’s do something unique with it.

“We said at the time that this was an issue of judgement, not nimbyism. The Inspector agreed.

“It’s the quality of development that is important. Several local residents used to work at the site, and many people want it back as a commercially viable entity – but not at any price.”

Thanks to campaigners
On behalf of residents, Cllr Seely thanked local campaigners Richard Peckham and Doug Alldred for their efforts in organising the local community and speaking against the development.

Clr Seely finished by saying,

“We have had too much poor quality development on the Island in the past 50 years. We need to demand better quality development, and development that fits with a vision of the Island as a great place to visit all year round. Cheap and cheerful has had its day.

“We need to preserve our natural and built environment and cherish what we have, not trash it. Other tourism areas of England have preserved their environment much better than we have and have prospered as a result – the Lake District gets ten times the numbers of visits we have.”

Image: © Google Streetview

Wednesday, 15th April, 2015 3:24pm



Filed under: Atherfield, Isle of Wight News, Planning, South Wight, Top story

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16 Comments on "Planning inspectorate rejects Atherfield Bay holiday park appeal"

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I wonder if we will ever see an approved planning application for anything on the IW?


You will it is called Flower’s Brook! Council are sponsoring its approval.


‘The Lake district Gets ten times the visits we get’ Well that’s a surprise. I expect tacky old Skeggy does as well. It’s just the cost the fuel to get there, so no contest when you need a mortgage to get here. Loadsa Money Seely does not need to find work so it is no skin off his nose that more employment has just been lost.

The Sciolist
The problem is, I think it is hard to tell a genuine holiday leisure application from a residential DFL application. There is a former holiday park at Norton/Yarmouth, it was a Butlin’s – Warner style camp with chalets but is now marketed as a country club. What is confusing is the chalets were replaced with properly built houses, lots of posh new England style properties – with… Read more »
Bob Seely
HI, thank you for your posts. Just to reply to a couple. Suruk, lots of applications are being agreed, including some like Arreton that (wrongly in my opinion) get permission due to appeals. However, we need to protect and enhance our landscape. We have to ditch the ‘any old development’ attitude that we have had for too long. For tourism and our quality of life we need… Read more »
Maybe the press should report the approvals, then, Bob, because all I ever see reported is application-protest-reject, application-protest-reject. Onshore wind turbines? NIMBY! Offshore wind turbines? NIMBY! Tidal stream turbines? NIMBY! Fracking? NIMBY! Housing developments? NIMBY! Business developments? NIMBY! Tourism developments? NIMBY! Fixed Link? NIMBY! One thing to bear in mind for the General Election is that those ultimate AGW deniers, UKIP, are PRO fracking and, if in… Read more »
The Sciolist

Captain Bob, is planning something you feel strongly about, or are you more concerned with representing the electorates anti development views in the interest of gaining votes?


Odd how zonking great supermarkets, of which we already have a surfeit on the IW, always seem to be approved.

I wonder why that is?

Probably because the supermarkets serve a need and the Island seems to shop at them. They’ve also helped to improve standards at the smaller shops which have had to improve to survive and many village shops are now very good as opposed to the dusty image of years ago; no disrespect intended to the old shopkeepers. Do we need an Asda? They seem to think so and… Read more »
Bob Seely
Good morning, A bit more comment on points raised: Sciolist, yes, I am interested in development and planning. It goes to the heart of what we want the Island to be. If we want to be successful (a strong economy and quality of life), we need a modern economy. That means one based on the knowledge economy, rather than cheap house-building or cheap development. We need to… Read more »

You DO know how big an average Center Parcs is, don’t you Bob? One would probably fill an area the size of Brighstone Forest!!!


@ Suruk

You shouldn’t have mentioned Brighstone forest…Brighstone is a no go area, remember? ;-)
It was a tongue in cheek sugestion; Centreparcs at Longleat is over 400 acres. There’s about as much chance of that as a tunnel under the solent and I know I could always move there if that’s what I need. ;-)

The Sciolist

And can you tell us exactly how long you have been a permanent resident, forming this vision?

Mark Francis

I thought there was a disused holiday camp there already?

We need development in Sandown – Grand Hotel, Savoy, Royal Cliff,Wight City etc. & yet all the developers want it round Brighstone.

Bob Seely

Suruk, fair point re Centre Parcs. If it’s too big then no, we can’t have – maybe there is no where the right scale on the Island.


Michael Cox
This is such a tragedy that this camp has been empty and overgrown for many years.I remember this camp when fully used and operating as a fantastic holiday camp.I used to live at Beckfield Cross in the white cottages overseeing the open sea on south side of island.I was thier from 1959 to 1968 when i married and moved away.My father use to work for a Colnel… Read more »