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Gloucestershire Business News

Pod's own country: Forest gets a glamping 'yes'

A secluded Forest of Dean holiday park has been told it can boost its tourism potential with the addition of five new Douglas fir cabins and two glamping pods.

Set in rural isolation and within a brisk hike of the River Wye, the award-winning family-run Ford Farm Holiday Lodges, in Kilcot, near Newent, asked Forest of Dean District Council for permission for the expansion in 2022. 

Subject to environmental surveys and ecology checks, the business, which Punchline-Gloucester.com understands changed hands in 2021 but has been trading since the 1990s, was granted an extension on the application, which was finally approved on Monday.

In a report to the council, planning officer Hannah Ryan said Ford Farm already offered 10 cabins, which included four two-bedroom cabins (82 sq m), four single-bedroom cabins (46 sq m) and two larger single-bedroom cabins (79 sq m).

Given approval of change of use for the agricultural land to the west of the existing site, the project will see two new three-bedroom cabins measuring 15.25m x 6.1m, three two-bedroom cabins at 12.2m x 6.1m and two single-room eco pods measuring 2.9m x 5m. All units will be built in timber to match existing facilities and have a fibre-cement roof, while solar panels will also be featured. Four electric vehicle charging points will also be installed in bays located among the new cabins.

Ms Ryan said: "The two and three-bedroom lodges will appear as a rectangular, single storey, wooden lodge with pitched roof and outside terrace with hot tub. The buildings will have separate bedrooms, kitchen/diners and lounges. The one-bedroom eco pods, will appear as a domed, wooden lodge comprising of a single open plan room with kitchenette and a separated W.C."

A design and access statement from Stroud-based Acre Planning said the proposal met with the NPPF and Policy CSP.7 of the Core Strategy, which seeks to support the sustainable growth and expansion of all types of businesses and enterprises in rural areas.

The report said: "This is through the diversification of agriculture and other land-based rural businesses, such as sustainable rural tourism and leisure developments that benefit the economy while respecting the character of the countryside."

It added: "The proposed cabins would be located on an established holiday park site. The supporting Business Plan states that the existing ten units are profitable and that when considering development costs, the new development will break even reasonably.

"The proposed cabins lie on the eastern side of the existing access road. The development, therefore, follows the pattern and grain of the existing development. The new cabins are orientated at differing angles and are set back from the existing cabins to maintain privacy. Whilst the distances between windows would be lower than residential standards, they are considered suitable in terms of privacy for holiday units."

Positioning of the two eco-pods will be towards the southern part of the site and screened by existing planting.

Acre Planning added: "These units would have a parking area near the site entry with a tree bark path providing access. The location of the eco-pods seeks to offer a unique holiday experience, and they would be well-screened and secluded. The eco-pods would have an arched roof and would be finished in timber."

Punchline-Gloucester.com has contacted Ford Farm - a timescale on completion of the project is as yet unknown.

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