Chewton Glen management blast BCP Council over refusal to build more treehouses
MANAGEMENT at the five-star Chewton Glen hotel have blasted BCP Council for refusing permission to build another three luxury treehouses.
The venue, which attracts celebrity guests to the collection of treehouses already in place, said officers appeared to have “blatantly ignored” reasons why the new ones should get the go-ahead.
The council turned down the proposal on the grounds of the impact they would have on greenbelt land.
This was despite New Forest District Council previously allowing eight treehouses to be created nearby, just over the county border within the site, although only seven were built.
In its planning decision, BCP Council stated that the hotel had not demonstrated the “very special circumstances” required under national planning policy that would have allowed the greenbelt land to be developed.
It also said the treehouses were “considered to be inappropriate development and will adversely impact on the openness” of the area.
But in a statement to the A&T, Chewton Glen managing director Andrew Stembridge said: “It is very disappointing that BCP Council and its local councillors have not supported this planning application for a very small number of additional tree houses at Chewton Glen and the very special circumstances appear to have been blatantly ignored.”
He pointed out that the previous treehouses had been given the full support of NFDC and have “brought unprecedented international kudos to the region allowing Chewton Glen, which is widely renowned as the region’s ‘jewel in the crown’ from a tourism perspective to continue to flourish”.
The treehouses cost from near-£1,500 a night and have proved popular with celebrities including Holly Willoughby who enjoyed celebrating her birthday in one with her family.
Mr Stembridge called them “groundbreaking in so many ways”, adding that the hotel had a “holistic approach to minimising the business’s environmental impact”.
He said the refusal felt like a “very short-sighted and backward decision at a time where economic development is particularly critical”.
Plans for the glass-fronted, wooden-clad treehouses featured a hot tub on the balcony and were to be built on stilts in woodland in the grounds of the hotel.
But BCP Council said that although there were “economic and social benefits” to the treehouses, they were outweighed by “significant environmental harm in the adverse impacts of the development on the openness” of the greenbelt.