Planning and the Somerset campsite can be used by Hinkley Point C workers until 2028 as plans approved

By Daniel Mumby - Local Democracy Reporter

1st Apr 2024 | Local News

Plans For Expanded Hinkley Point C Campsite At Quantock Lakes In Nether Stowey. CREDIT: NNB Generation Company (HPC) Ltd.
Plans For Expanded Hinkley Point C Campsite At Quantock Lakes In Nether Stowey. CREDIT: NNB Generation Company (HPC) Ltd.

A campsite near a Somerset wedding venue will be able to house Hinkley Point C workers until the end of 2028 after new plans were approved.

The Quantock Lakes campsite, located off the A39 near the village of Nether Stowey, has been used to house people working on the new nuclear power station since September 2017.

The campsite – which is just up the road from the popular Quantock Lakes wedding venue – was identified by EDF Energy as one of several sites which would need to expand by 2025 as construction ramps up and the total workforce committed to the project grows to more than 8,600 people.

EDF Energy applied with F G Jeanes & Sons Ltd. – which is seeking to build 83 new homes just up the road – to extend the campsite's operational lifespan and provide up to 145 new caravan pitches within the site.

Somerset Council has now given the green light for the additional pitches to be provided within the site – all of which can remain in place until December 31, 2028.

EDF Energy originally estimated in September 2022 that the Quantock Lakes site would have to provide 103 additional spaces, with the workers using the existing park and ride facility to reach the power station construction site.

Permission has already been secured for other campsite expansions, with 58 additional pitches coming to the nearby Mill Farm Camping and Caravan Park in Fiddington (approved by Sedgemoor District Council in March 2023) and a further 100 pitches being delivered at Moorhouse Campsite in Holford (approved by Somerset Council in November 2023).

Under the Quantock Lakes plans, 145 new pitches will be created at the southern edge of the site, near the existing Inwood Farm buildings.

A new amenity building and bus shelter will be delivered as part of the plans, along with a new footpath providing a safer pedestrian link for trips into Nether Stowey and onwards into the Quantock Hills national landscape (formerly area of outstanding natural beauty, or AONB).

The council's planning committee north (which handles major applications in the former Sedgemoor area) convened in Bridgwater on Tuesday afternoon (March 26) to discuss the proposals.

Greg Doyle, vice-chairman of Fiddington Parish Council, was critical of the proposals, arguing they would damage the views of the Quantocks and alleging that previous planning conditions has not been adhered to with any rigour.

He said: "We have a long-term duty to preserve these beautiful national landscapes.

"You can place many protective measures and restrictions on any planning permission, but the record shows that the applicant has done hardly any of the previous obligations.

"The site is already an eyesore and the protective screening has not been carried out. The applicant has Tarmac-ed some of this field already."

Councillor Bob Filmer – who chaired the district council's development committee until its abolition in April 2023 – said he "did not see an issue" with the proposed expansion.

The committee voted unanimously to approve the plans after around half an hour's debate.

     

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