Flood fears see plans rejected for year-round use of caravans in Skegness
COASTAL flood risk has halted a tourism business being able to offer year-round occupancy to holiday makers.
East Lindsey District Council's planning committee has backed the objections made by Skegness Town Council and the Environment Agency over plans relating to Southview Leisure Park on Burgh Road, Skegness.
Park Resorts Ltd, who own Southview, applied to remove conditions which currently stop caravans being occupied between January 6 and the end of February in any year.
Chris Panton head of planning at the council, said due to changes in planning regulations over the years, caravan sites on the coast do seem to have a mixture of seasonal occupancies.
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He said: "Southview was one of the first which came under the short break in occupancy.
"There is a real mix and some do not have any conditions on them and Southview is not the only ones with these conditions.
"If Southview were to be successful, there may be approaches from other sites which have facilities to offer all year round."
Councillors were concerned about the impact on amenities, the increase in flood risk and concerns that people may reside there all year round.
Louth councillor Jill Makinson-Sanders said: "I think the condition is correct as we would not have given permission for a housing estate there. It will skew our services and makes the town of Skegness unsustainable."
Councillor Hazel Newcomble, Chapel St Leonards, added: "I cannot agree in good conscience to vary a condition which has been placed to protect people from flooding."
Councillor Phil Kemp for Skegness Scarborough ward said: "It is ironic that if people's homes are flooded they are invariably put in caravans during that process.
"I do know that a number of caravan sites have no wish at all to go down the 12 month route and this could put pressure on them to do so."
At the same meeting, councillors did allow the Halfway House Caravan Park on Burgh Road West to vary an occupancy condition which was also objected by the Environment Agency.
Part of the site, which was developed separately to the main caravan site, has a different occupancy season.
The committee permitted to change the condition so the entire site's occupancy runs from March 1-November 30.
A spokesman from the Environment Agency said: "We know from evidence and history that the likelihood of significant tidal storms which could lead to flooding is greater in the winter months.
This is one of the reasons the planning authority restricts occupation periods for vulnerable types of accommodation, such as caravans.
"Whilst coastal flood defences are generally in a good condition, there is always a risk that they can be overwhelmed or fail."
Caravan site owners are now being targeted as part of the 'We're prepared for coastal flooding – are you?' campaign to get owners signed up to Floodline Warnings Direct and to make sure they have a flood evacuation plan in place.
Over the coming weeks the Lincolnshire Resilience Forum, supported by Lincolnshire County Council, East Lindsey District Council and the Environment Agency, will start to visit caravan sites to advise and support site owners and managers on how they can prepare for coastal flooding.