SAFARI-style glamping is set to arrive at a farm near the sleepy village of Lurgashall.
Today, (Thursday October 9) members of the South Downs National Park Authority’s planning committee are looking at a proposal from Andrew and Jennifer Loughan for a change of use of part of Mill Farm, currently used for grazing, to provide seven tents and a campsite shop.
The Loughans took over the tenancy of the farm, part of the Leconfield estate, in 2009.
Their idea is a farm diversification scheme to provide seven permanent tents. Each tent would be complete with wood-burning stove, toilets and en-suite shower, creating glamorous camping for people who fancy a bit more than a sleeping bag and a camping stove.
The business would be run as part of the Featherdown franchise that operates similar glamping sites throughout Britain and also across France, the Netherlands, Germany and across the Atlantic in America.
The plan has received a mixed reaction.
Lurgashall Parish Council has objected, but says it is willing to withdraw its concerns if the plan is given a five-year temporary permission.
There has been no objection from Chichester District Council’s environment officers, the national park’s historic buildings officer or the county council’s landscape team.
Letters of support received by the national park say it would support sustainable tourism in the area, help farm diversification and boost the local economy.
Objectors say they have concerns over the use of the site by large groups of people.
They fear noise pollution and loss of privacy and are worried about access and traffic issues.
But in a report to the planning committee today, planning officers are recommending approval.
“While the proposal would present a change to the rural character and landscape, the change would not be significant and the natural beauty of the landscape and setting of the listed building would be conserved,” said the report.
“Due to the size and location of the proposal, the scheme is unlikely to present any material harm to the occupants of the nearby residential properties.”
The plan is to put the safari-style tents on concrete tiles with wooden frameworks and canvas sides and roofs installed.
The tents would contain showers, furniture and beds for guests, with lighting by oil lamps.