Caravan site could get another chance

Coun Janet Battye with protesters against the proposed caravan site at Heptonstall.
Coun Janet Battye with protesters against the proposed caravan site at Heptonstall.

An appeal has been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in response to Calderdale Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for a new caravan site in Heptonstall.

The application, submitted by Westbourne Legal Services Ltd, proposed turning agricultural land, off Smithwell Lane, into a touring caravan site, including a facilities building.

Angry residents hit out at the plans earlier in the year.

Objections to the application included the site’s impact on Hepstonstall’s picturesque landscape, an increase in traffic and the affect on drainage.

At the time, Councillor Janet Battye (Lib Dem, Calder), said: “My objections to this application continue to be because I have serious concerns about the impact of putting a caravan site in a visible place on top of the horizon in this wonderful landscape and because of the number of vehicles it will draw either up Lee Wood Road which has been narrowed because of flood damage, or through the old village of Heptonstall.”

Steve Holt, one of the applicants, said: “I believe Calderdale should be promoting projects like this for tourism and promoting quality accomodation.

“This will be really positive and we are trying to protect the countryside and we don’t want to cause any damage.

“Caravanners are especially friendly people who drive carefully and follow signs, no vehicles would be going through Heptonstall,” he added.

Two previous planning applications were submitted in 2013 and 2014 and subsequently dimissed over concerns about harm to the green belt and the character of the area.

Speaking in light of the appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, Coun Battye added: “My view remains the same. This land is on top of the hillside, very visible and in an important area of countryside between the lovely old village of Heptonstall, Hardcastle Crags and open countryside and moorland.

“Not a suitable place for a caravan park which would put a lot of extra vehicles onto narrow, country lanes which are not able to cope with heavy traffic.

“Local people and the Parish Council feel strongly about this, and I support them.”