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New Forest District Council gives green light for revamp of Shorefields Holiday Park in Milford

Plans to upgrade a Milford holiday park with an outdoor splash park, mini golf course and activity lawn have been unanimously backed by district councillors.

Describing the Shorefields Holiday Park as a “brilliant family run business” Cllr Barry Rickman suggested improvements could reduce traffic by encouraging guests to remain onsite.

As reported, the holiday park previously submitted an application which included a stage, outdoor screen, elevated seating and festoon lighting. However, the application was opposed by around 180 local residents who claimed the site could become a “Butlin’s style” resort.

Shorefields was described as a “brilliant family run business”
Shorefields was described as a “brilliant family run business”

In response to feedback, revised plans, with reduced outdoor light and the removal of the outdoor stage, were then submitted in August.

The updated scheme retained the splash pad, nine-hole mini golf, children’s play park and a multi-use games area, as well as an extension to the reception building and a remodelling of parking areas, the laundrette and a caravan sales area.

Recommending permission should be granted, NFDC case officer Robert Thain revealed: “The applicants had suggested that there would be lights within the trees and some festoon lighting.

“We asked them to cut that back as we didn’t feel it would be appropriate for this site, both in terms of the general amenity to the local community and for the wildlife around the site as there are some bats.”

Describing the proposed development as “typical of what you’d expect to find in a modern day holiday park,” Mr Thain added that no new accommodation was proposed, and the impact on the greenbelt would be neutral.

However, concerns from the neighbours continued, with 75 letters of objection about additional noise, litter, impact on wildlife and traffic on rural roads. Milford Parish Council also objected on similar grounds, as well as raising concerns over the impact on wildlife and nesting birds.

A plan by Shorefields to install an outdoor stage was withdrawn
A plan by Shorefields to install an outdoor stage was withdrawn

Speaking on behalf of the parish council, Cllr Bob Bishop claimed the latest plans left “too many questions unanswered”, adding: “Who will police the use of the external terrace after 9.30pm?”

Cllr Bishop declared: “The parish council remains at one in asking you to reject this application.”

Speaking in support, planning agent Daniel Philips said Shorefields had been “taken aback by the local reaction and hysteria surrounding the use of the activity lawn”

He warned: “It is paramount that Shorefields Holiday Park, as a business, continues to invest in their team’s future as, without it, customers will seek other holiday parks.”

Debating the application, Cllr Kate Crisell, said many issues in the original application had now been alleviated.

Cllr Rickman added: “I think this will be an improvement and will encourage young families to stay onsite as there is more to do, so really that will keep traffic down. It is the natural development of a really good business.”

Cllr Malcolm Wade warned: “We need to look at developing our businesses if we want them to thrive and prosper.”

“People expect more they perhaps did 10 years ago.”

Describing the initial application as “diabolical” Cllr David Hawkins said he sympathised with the parish council’s concerns, adding: “We need to ensure these conditions are kept – it is vital to the people living nearby.”

Permission was unanimously granted.

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