170-lodge holiday village approved in Suffolk countryside will create 40 jobs
- Credit: Archant
A £16million revamp of a rural woodland leisure resort off the A12 has been approved, with scores of new holiday lodges set to be built.
East Suffolk Council's planning north committee on Tuesday granted planning permission to Darwin Leisure Development Properties (Guernsey) Ltd for its proposal to build 170 holiday lodges on two empty fields and the golf course at the existing High Lodge Leisure facility in Hinton.
The plans will see lodges ranging from one through to five bedrooms created, as well as construction of three tree houses and a facilities block featuring a cafe, restaurant, bowling alley, gym, children's play area and swimming pool.
It will join existing facilities such as the fishing lake and shooting range, but lodges can only be occupied for a maximum of 56 days per year per person so they do not become second or main properties, and instead retain their use as holiday lodges.
It is understood some of the lodges will be sold while others will be let to holidaymakers. A shuttle bus will also be provided between the site and Darsham rail station for both staff and holidaymakers.
The plans were approved by eight votes to one.
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Councillor Tony Cooper said "I cannot think of a better site and I think it will be a jewel in the crown for us."
Councillor Norman Brooks added: "I think this type of accommodation is going to be more and more important going forward. We are a tourist area and we will rely more and more on this type of operation. This will bring significant sums of money to the tourist economy."
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Its is understood it will create 40 year-round jobs.
However, 11 objections were received from locals citing noise and light impacts, potential increase in traffic from the potential Sizewell C development, the size of the facility being out of character with the rural landscape and A12 congestion as key concerns.
Councillor Graham Elliott said the fact that there was little public transport meant it was "not a sustainable location" and added: "The scale of this concerns me and a lot of local people. It's a massive development - it's a significant, large village plonked in the middle of the countryside".
Agent on behalf of the developers, Ellie Cass, said: "This represents a significant capital investment of between £16million and £17m at a time when economic investment is critical to the recovery of the UK economy."
She added: "Darwin is positioned, and committed, to delivering a high quality holiday development investing in and supporting an existing tourism operation and delivering 40 year-round permanent jobs."