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Decision time on plans to transform Knapp House into ‘woodland holiday park’

PUBLISHED: 09:00 23 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:16 23 January 2018

Knapp House in Northam.

Knapp House in Northam.

Archant

Controversial plans to transform Knapp House caravan site into a woodland holiday park are set to be decided on next month.

Dozens of people have been protesting against the plans for the site, which they claim was a historic battlefield from the ‘sequel’ to the Battle of Hastings.

The proposals for 58 new holiday lodges, a reception building and swimming pool were first submitted for the caravan site in March 2017.

Since then, dozens of objections have been lodged against the application, including from The Battlefields Trust.

Simon Marsh, Battlefields Trust research and threats coordinator, wrote to Torridge District Council to urge that a heritage impact assessment was carried out.

The proposals for the new holiday park at Knapp House in Northam. The proposals for the new holiday park at Knapp House in Northam.

He said: “Research undertaken by Nick Arnold and published in Transactions of the Devonshire Association 2015 under the title ‘The Defeat of the Sons of Harold in 1069’ suggests that the battle was fought in the vicinity of the proposed development.”

Mr Arnold, who made the discovery, said: “I am appalled by these plans.

“If they are approved we’ll be destroying the UK’s second Norman battlefield when the Bayeux Tapestry arrives.

“Protecting the battlefield boosts local business and safeguards beautiful countryside for future generations. It’s win-win for everyone.”

This map shows the boundaries of the planning proposals - which sit within the current caravan park at Knapp. This map shows the boundaries of the planning proposals - which sit within the current caravan park at Knapp.

Applicant Ashley Clements, who owns Knapp House with his brother Stuart, told the Gazette in March the development would create 15 full time equivalent jobs.

Ashley said it was time to ‘modernise’ the park and added: “We want to make these clear there are holiday lodges; they are not homes or second homes.

“We have also kept the allocation inside the boundaries of the existing caravan park; we didn’t encroach on other sites.

“Our overall feeling was to use the landscape we have got, we want a sort-of Centre Parcs feel to it.”

Knapp House has been used as a caravan park for the last 30 years, though for years has been subject of a planning battle to build a new marina.

The proposals for the ‘marina village’ were turned down by the planning inspector in 2015.

Mr Clements said they had ‘put those plans behind them’ and felt the holiday park would strengthen offerings for tourism in the region.

It is understood the proposals are set to come before Torridge District Council’s plans committee on Thursday, February 1.

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