PERMISSION GRANTED TO REPLACE TENTS WITH CABINS
Planning permission has been granted to replace the luxury glamping tents at Penninis Farm on St Mary's with timber cabins.
There are currently seven custom designed safari tents at the site, but applicants Jon and Daniel May are now allowed to build seven "more robust 'pod cabin' structures" in their place.
The new cabins will "sit on the existing tent platforms" and "there will be no new additions to roads, access, trenching, services or infrastructure".
Speaking at yesterday's meeting of the Council's planning committee, Cllr Robert Dorrien-Smith said: "These [structures] are more substantial, which will probably attract a longer season, which is terribly important to our economy.
"It is a sign of confidence that people are prepared to invest in our tourism business by improving the facilities on offer."
Cllr Christine Savill said: "The glamping business is already established and this is a replacement of a higher quality for what is there."
She pointed out that this was different to a completely new application for the pods, adding: "I can fully understand, having run a campsite, the difficulties for the applicant and the people in the tents in maintaining the large canvas structures where they are."
However, Cllr Fran Grottick said that she had reservations about the application. Referring to when the development first went through in 2011, she recalled that it was very controversial because of the site and density.
"The proposals were amended but there are still seven units of accommodation in what looks like a relatively constrained space in a beautiful situation.
"I accept all the arguments my colleagues have made and I don't feel able to vote for refusal of the application, but the whole point is that councillors, some of them very reluctantly, did agree to the glamping concept because it's supposed to be something different. In a way this isn't different."
She added that she finds the new pods "visually very acceptable and pleasant" and wishes the business well, but felt it necessary to abstain due to her reservations.
Cllr Amanda Martin agreed that it was "not necessarily an easy vote", saying that while she supports it, she does have reservations.
All councillors voted to approve the application, with the exception of Cllr Grottick, who abstained.