Business 'under threat' from hot tub and camping pod plans
Simon Storan and Kristi Coomber operate Stockwith Mill in Hagworthingham as an exclusive wedding and celebration venue, and the couple have owned the Stockwith Mill with his partner Kristi since 2020 after leaving city life behind to start afresh
But the application, submitted to East Lindsey District Council, will see a change of use of land east of Peppers Holt Wood, next to the Grade II listed-Stockwith Mill, for six new camping pods and hot tubs.
The applicant, Mr Alan Milburn, has said that the plans will bring business to the local economy, with secondary spending within restaurants, cafés, pubs, and shops within the immediate area of around £200,000 per year, as well as creating two new jobs.
However, Simon is concerned that the new glamping business will put his own under threat:
“As the owner of Stockwith Mill I am opposed on many levels – the intrusion into the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the possibility of more caravans/holiday/parks/camping pods in east coast Lincolnshire,” he said.
"My own business would be under threat.”
Kristi explained that the proposed camping pods and hot tubs directly overlook the ceremony area.
"This is of great concern,” she said, “We have marketed and sold these weddings on the basis of the venue providing an outdoor wedding in a scene of peace and tranquility, and this proposal presents the prospect of ceremonies being conducted while overlooked by pods 4.5 meters high, which is taller than a double decker bus and people frolicking in hot-tubs less than 30m away.”
Heritage Lincolnshire has also identified the site as “an area of archaeological interest” due to several Roman and prehistoric finds recorded in the area, including a possible Neolithic to Bronze Age flint-working site, and has recommended an archaeological mitigation strategy.
Other residents of the village have also written a statement in opposition of the plans, stating concerns including access from the de-restricted 60mph road, the lack of public footpath from the site to the town, the presence of badgers – a protected species – in the field, and also the loss of an agricultural field.
Mr Milburn said that he had met with the owners on two separate occasions and, having listened to his concerns, revised the plans from the original submission.
He said that he is surprised by the level of resistance to this application:
“There has been a lot of unfounded speculation exaggerating what is in effect a very small proposed glamping operation. To alleviate any concerns regarding future expansion, I have freely entered into a restrictive covenant limiting any development on the site to six pods only.
“The owner of the wedding venue is concerned about noise and loss of privacy, and the use of hot tubs disturbing his business. It is important to note that these pods only have one bed and are only large enough for couples looking for a romantic break.
"Any large groups will not be permitted to book pods and the website will make this clear, this is not the market we want. The pods and the hot tubs do not overlook any neighbouring property. The nearest pod is 130m away from the closest residence.
“However, I have listened to the concerns and have included side screens around the decking to ensure further privacy. In any event the pods are to be sited facing north/east, away from the wedding activities.
“Further substantial tree planting/screening is proposed between the pods and all neighbouring property, including the wedding venue, as part of a sensitive and well-considered landscape plan.
"It may also be noted that the young couples booking their short breaks are exactly the type of demographics that would look to book a wedding venue. I am of the firm belief that the development will be beneficial to the neighbouring wedding venue, providing additional accommodation for guests.
“We have, in this country a robust planning process. Any application requires a number of surveys
including, but not limited to, visual impact, noise, biodiversity net gain, traffic impact, environment and ecology, and these surveys are carried out by independent firms with no agenda and any findings good or bad are presented within their reports.”
You can view the plans at East Lindsey District Council’s planning website at https://publicaccess.e-lindsey.gov.uk/online-applications/and searching for application S/070/00470/23