Caravan site mistake to cost tax payer

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PEAK District National Park bosses have been forced to spend almost a 10th of their annual budget buying up land to stop extension of a caravan park.

The authority, which has £7.8 million to spend each year, has allocated £750,000 to buy the site next to Brosterfield caravan site at Foolow, Bakewell.

The decision follows a blunder by officials which accidentally allowed the owners to put 20 fixed caravans on the site – a use deemed ‘unacceptable’ in the national park.

Tingdene Homes was granted planning permission for the extension in 1998, with the intention that it could only be used by touring caravans.

But the company won a planning appeal in August 2011 allowing it to site static caravans.

Planning inspectors said the wording of the original planning permission decision notice did not stop static caravans being placed on the site.

The decision angered residents of Foolow – but the only option to stop static caravans using the site was for the national park authority to buy the land – for £650,000.

Legal bills could add a further £100,000 to the authority’s costs.

Once the sale is finalised, the authority will remove the right to put static caravans on the site then put it up for sale.

Pam Russell of Peak Park Watch said: “Hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money has been paid out to cover up the incompetence of officers.”

Tony Favell, of the park authority, said they would try to recoup as much of the money as possible from the sale of the site.