The owners of a caravan park have won an appeal to build 10 new ‘luxury holiday lodges’ on an old potato field. 

Riverside Caravan Park on the edge of Littleport said the new lodges would offer “high-quality” tourist accommodation to ‘capitalise on the increased demand for staycations’. 

East Cambridgeshire District Council had refused the plans last year, raising concerns about the park mainly being used as permanent homes, rather than holiday lets. 

However, this decision was overturned after an appeal to the planning inspectorate. 

In planning documents, the caravan park said the new holiday lodges would “build on the success” of the existing park through a “modest expansion”. 

It said the lodges would help to capitalise on the “increased demand for staycation accommodation in the UK”. 

The plans said: “The proposals would provide additional tourist accommodation through a change of use of redundant agricultural land (former potato growing field), allowing for the siting of up to 10 independent single luxury holiday lodge units, which provide high-quality accommodation.” 

The district council had refused the planning application claiming the park did not appear to operate “primarily as tourist accommodation”, due to many of the existing caravans being used as permanent homes. 

The authority also said building the new lodges in open countryside would create a “discordant feature” causing “unwarranted harm to the rural character of the countryside”. 

The planning inspector’s report said the park had confirmed that of the 49 existing caravans, only seven were used as holiday accommodation. 

The inspector said the residential use of the park did not “necessarily indicate” that there was no demand or justification for holiday accommodation in the area and said a needs benefit report suggested there was in fact demand which was expected to increase. 

The report said the caravan park had confirmed the new lodges would be owned by the park and would be privately rented to tourists. 

The inspector said: “I note the council’s concerns that there could be pressure to use the proposed units for unencumbered residential use, were the site to become unviable in future. 

“I agree that permanent residential use would not be acceptable here, as it would not comply with the council’s development strategy and would also raise concerns regarding flood risk. 

“However, to meet the requirement of [planning policy] any grant of planning permission for holiday accommodation would need to be subject to occupancy conditions. 

“Removal of such conditions would require specific consent, so the council would be able to exert control over any such change. 

“Given the above considerations, I am satisfied that the need for the proposed change of use can be justified.” 

The planning inspector also said the new lodges would not be an “unexpected form of development” due to the existing caravans nearby, and that they believed the impact on the character and appearance of the area would be acceptable.