A client approached us with an existing stable block which they wanted to extend and convert to a unit of tourism accommodation. The site is located within the South Downs National Park, therefore we had to be mindful of the policy restrictions that this designation presents.
There is a policy within the current Local Plan which allows for sustainable tourism where it is in accordance with the relevant criteria. One of the criteria allows for the use of existing buildings. As the policy does not strictly allow for new builds or extensions, we sought to agree the principle of development through a pre-application.
We demonstrated to the Council that the conversion and extension of the stables to form a one bedroom holiday let would provide several benefits including:
- Creation of local employment opportunities in the conversion process;
- Support for the local rural economy through expenditure in local businesses;
- Opportunity to educate users on the special qualities of the National Park and its conservation and enhancement;
- Provision of a high-quality unit of tourist accommodation; and
- Opportunity to improve mental health and well-being for users through the promotion of an ‘active and educational’ holiday.
The Council concurred with the benefits of the scheme and given the proposals siting and design, it was not considered that there would be any adverse harm to the surrounding landscape character or the special qualities of the National Park.
The holiday let is now complete and is a great bolt hole to enjoy the National Park and all it has to offer.