Glamping pods and yurts on a south Warwickshire farm could soon offer a much-needed boost to the region’s tourism industry after councillors gave plans the green light.
Planning officers at Stratford District Council had opposed the scheme for Oakham Farm, in Loxley, but the application was approved when it was considered at this week’s planning committee.
Brian Barrow, speaking on behalf of the farmer, said: “The owners wish to open up the farm for visitors to enjoy the rural farming experience. There is a good network of footpaths to allow access to local facilities such as the pub.”
He added that the farm housed 120 sheep and pigs would soon be arriving. Diversification had also seen fishing and shooting offered and there were a number of holiday lets on the land.
In recommending that the plans be refused, officer Erin Watherstone said that while the council supported small-scale tourism, the application was considered to be medium scale.
She added: “There will be a number of benefits of the scheme including the economic and social benefits to the surrounding area through the creation of new tourist/visitor accommodation.
“When considering the benefits of the scheme they are not considered to outweigh the harm identified of locating medium scale visitor accommodation in the countryside where future visitors will be highly reliant on the use of the private car to access services, facilities and tourist attractions.
“The development is therefore considered to represent an unsustainable form of development and it is recommended that planning permission be refused on this basis.”
The committee was told that the plans had the support of the local parish council and Cllr Penny-Anne O’Donnell (Con, Ettington) also backed the glamping pods and yurts.
She told the meeting: “This is just what we need in Loxley. As the fourth worst hit district in the UK, as we emerge from the pandemic we need to establish a multi-layered tourism offer for all budgets and tastes especially with a staycation in mind.
“Farm diversification is supported in planning policy and the proposal will assist the applicant in improving toursut income from the farm which will complement the existing holiday lets.
"We need to nurture our rural enterprises and support our farmers whose resilience is legendary so I urge you to see local and grant permission.”
Members of the planning committee agreed and voted unanimously to approve the application.
Cllr Chris Mills (Con, Kineton) said: “To my mind there are only eight glamping pods and two yurts - they are not harming the countryside as they are surrounded by trees. Personally I think it is quite a nice scheme and I am all for it.”