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Village row over caravan park plans

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Dumfries and West
Village row over caravan park plans

OWNERS of a caravan park in Wigtownshire are facing stiff opposition from nearby villagers to their expansion plans.

Richard Copeland, of Sands at Luce Caravan Park in Sandhead, has submitted a planning application to Dumfries and Galloway Council for an additional 28 caravans at the holiday location.

The long-established caravan park, which is south of Stranraer, had around 300 caravans in 2020, added another 59 in 2021, and is now planning to extend the southern side of the site with 28 more.

This will also require the change of use of agricultural land, the formation of hard standing areas to house the caravans, along with associated decked areas, installation of a waste water treatment plant, formation of access roads, parking, and landscaping works.

However, Stoneykirk Community Council has lodged an objection to the extension plans. Members have also held several public meetings on the issue and have surveyed local residents who they claim are concerned about a larger caravan park impinging on the village.

Community councillors have called for planning permission to be refused, arguing that the expansion of the caravan park would have a negative effect on Sandhead.

In council planning papers, they stated: “Sandhead has a large ageing population. The village requires more permanent affordable housing to attract more young families to reside in the village. At present any house up for sale is bought to provide another holiday home for let.

“The local school relies on more young families residing in the area to maintain/boost the school roll to prevent its closure.

“This is having an adverse effect on the population of the village and its future expansion and survival.”

At the special community council meeting held on the issue, one member claimed that villagers are effectively subsidising the caravan park because no council tax is collected from the caravans, hence there is relatively little tax paid for the use of the village facilities and

the surrounding area.

However, council planning chiefs are recommending that the caravan park expansion is approved subject to conditions.

The original plan was for 33 caravans and a house to be used as a holiday home, however after two revisions the house idea was scrapped and the number of caravans has dropped to 28.

The planning report also says the expansion will result in a jobs and economic boost, stating: “Supporting submissions indicate that the applicant expects the development to result in the creation of six new FTE positions.

“Additionally, it was identified that in 2021 Sands of Luce’s repairs and maintenance expenditure was £280,000 and that this was predominantly spent with local trades and contractors.”

The application will go before the council’s planning committee next Wednesday where councillors will make the final decision.

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