A planning row has left dog walkers, ramblers and visitors to the renowned Biosphere Reserve at Braunton Burrows unable to use Sandy Lane Car Park until further notice. Dismayed walkers on Saturday discovered the gates to the facility at the Lobb end of t
A planning row has left dog walkers, ramblers and visitors to the renowned Biosphere Reserve at Braunton Burrows unable to use Sandy Lane Car Park until further notice.Dismayed walkers on Saturday discovered the gates to the facility at the Lobb end of the Burrows locked.Lucie and Paul Tamlyn, who operate the car park, which is owned by Christie Estates and leased to the Ministry of Defence, said they had to close after district council planners issued an enforcement notice demanding two metal shipping containers on the site be removed.A sign put up on Friday to notify users had been ripped down by Saturday morning, they said.The containers had been used as an attendant's shelter, offices, toilet and refreshment area offering drinks and snacks. They replaced a wooden shelter which was burnt down twice and constantly vandalised.The council notice said it could not support the unauthorised siting or the "associated retail use."But Lucie Tamlyn said: "We thought this had been resolved and were going to put in a retrospective application, but unfortunately until this is sorted it will have to remain closed, which is not our desire, or that of Christie Estates."The council is telling people what a wonderfully important site this is, but at the same time they are taking away basic facilities people expect."The couple also operate the car park at Saunton and said they would provide a refund on 2008 Sandy Lane season tickets if people go along and see them at the Saunton Beach shop.Mike Kelly, NDDC planning manager, said there had been discussions with the estate before the notice was issued, which was a last resort following complaints from the public and parish council."These structures are quite out of character with the locality, designated a landscape policy area and Site of Special Scientific Interest. The estate has been invited to submit an application for temporary consent for a more appropriate attendant's shelter which can then be considered on its own merits following public consultation," he said.Christie's chief executive Raymond Coldwell said while the estate was not directly involved, they had tried to resolve matters:"It's appalling, when people have tried to further the facility and safety down there, I think it's a very unjust situation."Last week I called the planning department on 14 occasions, but to no avail."Since arriving last year, the Tamlyns have installed dog mess and rubbish bins, as well as improving the general cleanliness of the site, which has been appreciated by users, including Pat and Mike Beevers, who walk their dogs."Since taking it over they have worked miracles down there," said Pat. "This past year it's been absolutely superb, everyone has commented and now when things are working we're told it has to be closed down.