PLANS to create a number of caravan pitches in South Cumbria in a bid to provide additional income to an environmental education charity have been turned down.

Westmorland and Furness Council have refused a planning application from Field Studies Council to create 12 caravan or motorhome pitches to an area of land to the north of Castle Head Field Study Centre in Grange.

A decision notice issued by the council states: “The proposed development is not acceptable in principle as the location of site is considered unsustainable and the proposal doesn’t form part of a farm diversification scheme.”

Previous proposals for a caravan site were withdrawn in October 2023 due to the need for a flood risk assessment, a transportation assessment and justification for the required need of the proposals for the centre.

Planning documents submitted by the applicant said: “The proposals are set within an established screened site and provide no adverse impact on the surrounding opening countryside or to any neighbour.

“It uses an underused area of land and will be financially beneficial for the Centre and also provides a tourist facility which will also bring an economic benefit to small businesses within the locality.”

Since 2020 the centre has accommodated five caravan pitches on land to the north of the centre which is Caravan and Motorhome Club certified.

Plans add: “This facility when certified by the Caravan and Motorhome Club has been very successful and the applicant is seeking to provide 12 pitches which will provide additional income for the centre.”

Field Studies Council is an environmental education charity which provides outdoor learning in and about the natural world by connecting children to the land around the centre, a cover letter states.

Castle Head offers a range of outdoor adventure activities for all ages and abilities to help build confidence, team building and interpersonal skills.

It adds: “We use the medium of outdoor activities to push individuals outside their comfort zones and interact face-to face, thereby improving confidence and social skills which have been limited during covid.

“We deliver school curriculum as well as essential personal development skills. For this reason the grounds are our classroom and the ability to carry out fieldwork activities is a critical reason why the Field Studies Council operates at Castle Head.”

The site has established mature screening to all sides and the scheme has been designed not to disturb any of the existing trees, bushes and hedges. Additional tree planting is also proposed between each bay, plans add.

This planning application was refused on May 10.