Inspector dismisses appeal for mobile home park in East Cambs village

Aerial shot, lay-out plans, and existing site entrance and mobile home. Composite photo of the proposals rejected by...

Aerial shot, lay-out plans, and existing site entrance and mobile home. Composite photo of the proposals rejected by planning inspectorate for Mildenhall Road, Fordham. - Credit: Archant

A planning inspector refused to allow eight mobile homes on a piece of land in East Cambridgeshire that only has permission for two but is operating already with nine mobile homes.  

David O’Connor of D&R Developments appealed after East Cambs Council refused to allow the mobile homes at Mildenhall Road, Fordham.  

“The appeal is dismissed,” said the inspector, E Brownless. 

Fordham Parish Council had told the council that the application “seems to be retrospective” and appeared to try to “formalize what is at present an illegal development”. 

The parish council objected on highways grounds and questioned if the site was large enough to provide eight mobile homes.  

East Cambs planners suggested in a report last summer that although their enforcement officers were aware of the unlawful mobiles, their removal was covered should three bungalows be built there.  

Mr Brownless said: “The appeal site is occupied by approximately nine mobile homes and two outbuildings and therefore I am considering this appeal retrospectively.” 

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He said the main issues were access and whether it was a suitable location.   

"It is far from clear that safe and suitable access to the appeal site would be achieved,” he said.  

“Substantial vegetation along the boundary with No 193 Mildenhall Road has the effect of obscuring views of the existing driveway when approaching from the direction of the village.  

“In the event that two vehicles were to meet each other within the existing driveway, one vehicle would need to reverse until the other could pass.” 

He said: “Existing vegetation would make it more difficult for a driver to have adequate visibility to reverse, particularly at the junction with Mildenhall Road. 

“In addition, the internal access within the appeal site would not meet the width requirement for a road serving in excess of five dwellings.  

“As such, it would not be capable of adoption and further exacerbates the problem of vehicles being able to safely pass each other.” 

The inspector said based on his findings – and from what he saw on a site visit – he had “serious concerns about the impact of additional users of the existing driveway and the highway safety implications due to the conflict between highway users”.  

He added: “I cannot conclude that acceptable access can be achieved in this instance.” 

The inspector said: “There is dispute between the parties as to whether the appeal site amounts to a mobile home park which I am unable to resolve on the evidence before me. 

“In any event, exceptional development in accordance with this policy is subject to a number of requirements. In particular, that there should be no adverse impact on the local highway network by reason of the scale and nature of the traffic generated by the proposal.” 

The inspector said the site is not a location “to which a new development should be directed”.  

He said planning permission for three bungalows had been given for the site and Mr O’Connor could go ahead with that.  

To switch to mobile home would be a more intensive use and generate more traffic than is acceptable for the existing driveway and junction.  

The inspector agreed there was a demand for mobile home but given the “modest benefit” of the proposal this had to be weighed against the “adverse impact” on highway safety and its conflict with planning policies.  

Mr O’Connor had told East Cambs planners of his desire to “reconfigure” the existing site to accommodate up to eight mobile homes.  

He promised new hardstandings, new internal road construction and landscaping “to create a pleasant living environment”.  

Mr O’Connor said the existing site has an established use for mobile homes “therefore the principle of this aesthetic is not being changed and is therefore considered to be acceptable”. 

He said: “We consider our proposal has no greater impact on the countryside, or village setting, than the previous consented scheme for bungalows.  

“It will undoubtedly improve the appearance of the existing site and therefore there is an enhancement to the streetscape.”