High-End Campsite Receives Planning Approval

The field at Peninnis Farm, off King Edwards Road

A controversial new campsite at Peninnis has been granted planning permission despite a recommendation that the application be deferred.

This was the third application by Jill, Jon and Daniel May for a campsite at Peninnis Farm, following the rejection of a larger, 45 tent scheme in 2006 and a subsequent, smaller 17 unit plan in 2007.

Planning Officer Craig Dryden had recommended deferring the current application, for seven high-end, serviced tents, containing fireplaces and bathrooms, sited in a 0.325 hectare field off King Edwards Road, to allow discussions on reducing the scheme to four tents.

He also wanted further information on the quality of the proposed water supply and review of alternative access to the site.

Craig said that the Council had received a last minute submission from English Heritage, which had been sent to Cornwall Council before Scilly, expressing concern that the Visual Impact Assessment had not referred to two nearby Bronze Age sites, although no actual impact had been identified.

Some Councillors expressed concern that the footprint of the current plan was not substantially reduced from the one rejected in 2007, even though the number of tents had been reduced from 17 to 7. This was because the size of each tent had been increased.

However, Councillors expressed overwhelmingly support for the current scheme, with Councillor Marian Bennett saying that she did not see the need to defer and that she supported the seven-tent scheme.

Councillors made a site visit on Monday

She did not think that access along King Edward Road was a problem, as campers would not be bringing their own cars.

Marian said the Council should be “can do” and support investment in the tourist infrastructure, a point echoed by Councillor Christine Savill, who said that both farming and tourism were becoming endangered on the islands and there was “a need to modernise to meet new demands.”

Councillor Savill added that the Blue Sail report, on the future of tourism on the islands, had identified “glamping” as a key growth area.

Councillor Richard McCarthy said the trials of serviced tents at Troytown on St Agnes had been a success and he felt the current scheme was acceptable.

Councillor David Pearson described the application as a brave attempt to bring camping into the modern world and was “worth a try.”

The Councillors dismissed issues around the quality of the farm’s own water supply, which will be used to service the site and which was shown to have elevated levels of iron, manganese, lead and nitrates.

These will be brought down by a treatment plant although Councillor Lowen recommended that bottled water should be provided for babies visiting the site.

Councillor Savill requested that a strict condition on the erection of normal tents on the site be included to stop expansion.

Councillors backed the application, with one abstention, but requested that the Planning Officer confirm the conditions through a subsequent email as the final report had not clearly defined these.


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