Holiday village in Goosnargh, near Preston, gets the green light on former Inglewhite Road golf course
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The attraction will be developed on the former Goosnargh Golf Club site and will bring 130 holiday lodges to the rural spot - providing what the firm behind the plans describes as “luxury accommodation” for tourists.
Visitors will also be able to enjoy an on-site restaurant and bar, swimming pool, spa facilities and a gym - all reserved solely for their use.
Along with the static lodges, there will be space for 26 touring caravans, which will also have access to their own dedicated amenities, while 14 'office pods' will be installed for those who need to dip back into work during their rest and relaxation.
The scheme was unanimously approved by Preston City Council's planning committee - but with a warning that the lodges must not be allowed to become people’s permanent homes.
It is claimed that the Goosnargh Holiday Village development will create 105 full-time-equivalent jobs once it is fully operational and generate an extra £2.6m a year of so-called “gross value” for the local economy.
The nine-hole former pay-as-you-play golf course, on Inglewhite Road, saw its last rounds played in August 2019 - 14 years after it opened.
Committee members were told that the applicant for the holiday village - Preston-based GHV Limited - had proved that it was no longer needed. Play had dipped in the 2010s before its closure and, although other courses saw upticks in use at the height of the pandemic, the increased interest was not expected to be sustained - while more popular golf facilities were said to be available within 20 minutes of Goosnargh.
The creation of the holiday village will lead to the loss of an unspecified number of trees, but the meeting heard that they would largely be young specimens - and that landscaping plans for the plot meant that there would be an overall increase in the number of trees on the site.
Goosnargh resident Tony Ingham told the committee that tree removal must be kept “kept to a bare minimum” - even if that meant reducing the number of lodges.
While he said that he did not object to the plans “in principle", he stressed that the development must not be allowed to morph into an unsuitable “residential estate” - a fate which he said had befallen a site near Longridge which had initially been planned along similar lines.
“Due either to ambiguous conditions or lax enforcement procedures - or both - the club house [on that site] became a block of flats and the lodges are, in effect, dwellings, because they are occupied through the year and not by holidaymakers,” Mr Ingham said.
That was a concern shared by committee member David Borrow, who said that if the site were open for use all year round - or even with a limited closure period of four weeks, as was sometimes the case on similar developments - there was “nothing to stop [guests] making [a] lodge their permanent address”.
He said he knew of elderly people who had sold their main property and moved into a holiday home - even if that meant having to stay in a bed and breakfast while the park where iot was sited shut down for a brief time during the winter. Cllr Borrow said that a condition attached to the planning permission to prevet permanent residence must be made “watertight”.
Josh Hellawell, the agent for the application, said that he would not want to see an additional restriction on times of the year that the site could be used, because people went away in all seasons and “might want…a Christmas holiday or a summer holiday". He added that he expected the lodges would be “a mix” of those available to let and to buy and said that “demand is currently outstripping supply in the [holiday village] sector”.
Councillors were told that the on-site facilities would not be open to the general public, with Mr. Hellawell noting that locals had expressed concern about that possibility during a public consultation. The same restriction would apply to the office pods, he said, which would be for use only by those staying at the village.
While the facilities are off limits to the general public, new footpaths will be created throughout the site, which, according to planning documents, will “provide attractive woodland trails for guests and the local community to enjoy” - alongside an existing public right of way through the development. Large areas of mixed-species woodland will also be planted.
Existing ponds will be improved and new ones created, while wildflowers, grasses and shrubs are also to be planted to provide screening between the lodges and around the site perimeter.
A Grade II-listed barn and farmhouse, dating back to the mid-17th and early 18th centuries respectively, will also be screened in order to protect their setting.
Summing up the overriding sentiment of the committee, Coun Stephen Thompson said that the holiday village would make a “positive contribution” to the area, while his colleague, Coun Harry Landless, added that it would “bring tourist prosperity to the area, which can only be a good thing”.
In a statement issued after planning permission was granted, Peter Allen, from GHV Limited, said: “This is great news for our local community and I welcome the committee’s approval of our proposals after such careful consideration,
“Our plans enjoyed broad support amongst the community and we worked hard to accommodate the needs and concerns of nearby residents, which was recognised by the committee,” he added.
Nine objections had been submitted to the city council opposing the plans, with concerns ranging from potential noise and light pollution from the proposed facilities to the impact that they would have on the "agricultural character" of the area.
Planning case officer Jonathan Evans told the committee that while the proposal conflicted with one aspect of Central Lancashire-wide planning policy, it complied with several others and also the city council's own local plan – specifically the element of it concerned with diversifying the rural economy.
WHAT’S ON OFFER?
Each of the 130 lodges will be single storey, with 2-3 bedrooms, kitchen/living/dining space, bathroom, a utility room and other spaces. They will have ramped access, via external timber decking that wraps around the properties, which is suitable for wheelchair users and prams or pushchairs. The lodges will also provide wheelchair-accessible internal spaces and bathrooms.
Wherever possible, a “naturalistic layout” will be adopted across the site, with curving access roads and cul-de-sacs at its heart, according to a planning statement submitted with the application.
A number of the lodges will also be located close to habitat ponds, with their decking terraces overlooking the water features.
Main facilities building
Centrally located on the site, this will include:
***restaurant and bar
***café and lounge area
***swimming pool and spa facilities, like treatment rooms and saunas
***gymnasium and games/recreation room
*** a small farm shop
Touring pitches and facilities
There will be 26 spaces in total, available for short stay holidays for those with tourers or caravans. Each pitch will have space for a second vehicle and a small grassed area.
The areas surrounding the tourer pitches will be planted to screen them and ensure privacy in what will be a woodland setting.
A dedicated tourer facilities building will serve the caravans, providing toilets, showers, a laundry facility, pot washing area, waste disposal and a place to deposit foul water and restock with clean.
The 14 units are intended particularly for guests who plan to visit the complex for several weeks, allowing them access to dedicated, serviced working spaces should they need briefly to get back to the daily grind.
To be located next to the car park, away from the residential properties, the kiosk will house a small reception area for guests to check in or out of the holiday village and collect key and site information.