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Appeal over glamping pods

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Dumfries and West
Appeal over glamping pods

A BUSINESSWOMAN is arguing that her plans for new glamping pods will help boost tourism and the local economy in Gatehouse of Fleet.

Mandy Hyslop, of Court Knowe Farm, was disappointed when Dumfries and Galloway Council planning officers refused her initial application to set up four glamping pods on a section of her agricultural land.

The development would also have featured decked areas, parking provision, the formation of an internal road and pathways, and would require the installation of a sewage treatment plant with soakaway.

Mrs Hyslop was hoping to tap into the staycation market and attract visitors who would be encouraged to spend time and money elsewhere in the area.

She lodged a planning application in March 2022, which was refused by the council’s planning department 11 months later on the grounds that it would “jeopardise the scenic landscape” in the Galloway Hills and Fleet Valley scenic areas.

However, an appeal has been lodged on behalf of the applicant by agent Alan McNeish.

He highlighted how the site is within a mile of a large holiday park at Auchenlarie and a range of other consented holiday lodges and glamping pods.

In the appeal document, Mr McNeish wrote: “The client will be mainly catering for couples’ getaways and staycations, but with the potential to accommodate young families and groups as well.

“They will encourage returning visitors by providing a high-quality experience in natural surroundings, but with the nearby availability of all necessary facilities, walking and biking to the village and surrounding area will be encouraged, as will travel to and from the site using low impact transport methods.”

Mr McNeish also argued that links would be made with local established businesses and the majority of all food and drink purchased will be from community businesses.

He further argued: “The siting of the pods has been carefully chosen as described in the design and access statement and the visual appraisal to minimise the visual impact.

Each has been micro sited into the landscape to have a low profile and underbuilding is avoided to enable them to sit within the undulating landscape and not ‘on top of it’.

“Screening through the addition of trees and shrubs is also proposed and this will assist in integrating the pods into the landscape.”

The applicant submitted a market research document which underlines the specific need and demand for tourist accommodation within the area, especially after covid where there has been a significant increase in staycations.

The appeal will be heard at the council’s local review body meeting next Thursday.

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