A POPULAR caravan park in Hartlepool is to be expanded after plans were approved for almost 40 new static holiday units.

Proposals have been approved by Hartlepool Borough Council planning department for 37 additional static caravan pitches at Ashfield Farm in Dalton Piercy.

Ashfield Caravan Park currently has space for around 68 touring pitches, 30 motorhome pitches, tent pitches and campfires, but is looking to expand.

The plans, submitted by site owner Mark Ashton, state the caravans are to be for holiday use only, and not permanent residential use.

Initially the proposals were for 48 pitches, however the scheme was later reduced to 37 static caravan pitches.

Council senior planning officer Laura Chambers confirmed the proposals have been given the go ahead, adding they would benefit the tourism in the area.

In her report, she said: “The proposed development seeks an expansion of an existing rural enterprise for tourism purposes. 

“The proposals are considered acceptable in principle, subject to conditions limiting the occupancy to tourism rather than permanent occupation.

“The proposals are also considered to be acceptable in relation to the impact on the character and appearance of the wider area, highway safety, the amenity of neighbouring occupiers and ecology.”

A design and access statement previously submitted by Plans Northeast, on behalf of site owner Mark Ashton, stated there is demand for such pitches in the area.

 It said: “It is planned that statics with decking and steps will be installed as individual Holiday Lets, to be let typically for a number of weeks at a time.

“Customers can also purchase a static from the owner and choose a pitch and pay ground rent for this. Alternatively, customers can arrange to place their own static on a chosen pitch and pay ground rent for this.

“There have been a large number of requests to the client for such a facility and that if this was available they would use such pitches.

“The caravan site will then grow accordingly. The current site is a successful touring site with camping, relatively quiet weekdays and busier at weekends.”

The plans also include two new members of part-time staff to work at the park alongside the existing current two members of full-time staff.

The site, which opened in 2008, also has a laundry block, washing up facilities, a shop, wireless internet, a bar, cafe, clubhouse and games room for adults and children.

The approval comes despite concerns being raised by Dalton Piercy Parish Council to the proposals.

Worries included the increase in traffic along Dalton Road which ‘would have a huge impact on the village’ according to the group.

Concerns had also been raised by the Hartlepool Rural Neighbourhood Plan Working Group stating it is ‘difficult to envisage’ how the development could enhance the local landscape.