An adverse impact on the Isle of Wight Dark Skies and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty have been cited in objections to a planning application for five glamping domes on the Tapnell Farm estate.
The development, which would be accessed from Broad Lane, consists of five geodesic domes and associated paraphernalia, such as external lighting to boardwalk paths; car parking for five cars, a store for bins and other utilitarian uses such as picnic area and pizza oven.
A “more-sensitive location”
The new application seeks to address the objections raised, by moving the site to “a more-sensitive location, away from the AONB and on land which requires remediation”.
In a 59-page document, the applicant says the site is small in size and dominated by silage stores covered with old tyres and that given its position within the open landscape, it “offers a high level of perceptual qualities and tranquility”.
They explain the domes will be covered in ‘forest green’ material to make them as inconspicuous as possible. External lighting on the boardwalk paths, will be at low height level and include timer / sensor controls.
The removal of silage stores and tyres and introduction of new wildlife habitats with hedges, scrub, trees and extensive wildflower meadows, will be attractive to pollinating insects, says the applicant.
However, those opposed to the plans say the domes would be, “a blot on the beautiful landscape of the West Wight” and that granting permission would set a precedent for other developments in Isle of Wight beauty spots.
In her objection letter, Naomi Hyland said,
“Without proper oversight this development and its other ventures could quite easily become a regretful blot on our beautiful West Wight landscape, which could put our the West Wights AONB and Island’s Biosphere status at risk.”
Brian Jacobs said,
“A great deal of development has been approved at Tapnell which has been supported because it increases visitors and creates jobs.
“The proposal is several 100 metres to the north of the existing complex and if approved may lead to further infill between the two sites.”
He added that the development would have an “adverse effect on dark skies policy”.
Too much lighting
A resident from Bouldnor Mead, whose property is opposite Tapnell Farm as the crow flies, said they already have lights shining towards their property during the night from the Farm and “would not like to see any more lights, or vehicle lights in this area”.
They go on to cite an Isle of Wight Historic Environment Action Plan (HEAP) report written in 2008 about the Thorley/Wellow/Bouldnor area and say it has been unchanged since the Doomsday Book. They add,
“This area adjoins the ANOB. It would be beneficial to the Island as a whole to preserve this area for future generations as it is.”
According to the application papers, the five domes are currently sited alongside the entrance road to Tapnell Farm Park.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England and IW AONB Partnership both objected to the siting of the domes in this location on the grounds that it would cause harm to the landscape character and the setting of a nationally designated landscape, as well as affecting the Dark Skies status.
A retrospective application for the domes in that location was refused by the Isle of Wight council planning department in November 2019, being considered a detrimental impact on the visual amenities of the landscape and designated AONB and Heritage Coast, as well as having the potential to result in increased recreational disturbance to the interest features of the Solent Special Protection Area.
Have your say
If you wish to view the application details or comment you can do so on the Isle of Wight council planning portal (Application ref: 20/01245/FUL).
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