RESIDENTS in a picture-postcard town have been left fuming at plans to turn it into a huge holiday park.
Locals in the historic North Yorkshire village of Sheriff Hutton – famed for its 14th century castle – have united against plans to install 32 lodges on a field where horses used to graze.
Disgruntled homeowners are fighting plans for the “military barracks” holiday huts they fear will cause a traffic nightmare and ruin their peace.
Council bosses signed off plans for 16 caravans less than two years ago.
But now landowners have filed for permission to double the number, along with 72 parking spaces.
Residents fear the huts would make the picturesque village "feel more like a holiday park with a village attached”.
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And they worry that the camping chalets would lead to traffic chaos in the village – where the main road is already seen as an accident blackspot.
The entrance to the site opens up with limited visibility onto a hill where vehicles are often recorded speeding.
Locals say motorists are often caught out as the 60mph road reaches a roundabout at the entrance to the countryside village.
Trading standards officer Paul Wetherall, 56, said: “I objected to it. I thought 16 huts was fine but to double it just seems excessive.
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“I’m one of the many people who have had their cars written off at the junction. I was in an Alfa Romeo that got spun around by a taxi driver.
“My sister-in-law also had her car written off about a year ago.
“The top of the hill can be pretty dangerous and increasing the amount of traffic will only make matters worse.”
Mr Wetherall added: “I also don’t really know how they are going to landscape it.
“I know it’s a bit selfish but I always thought the best thing about living here was that there was nothing across the road.
“I don’t think the development adds to the community. It will add to the traffic and not really give anything back to the village.
“The only person who will gain would be the landowner. It’s not a facility for the village.”
Developers say the revised plan would see the planned 16 chalets replaced with 32 of a smaller size and a children’s park would be built away from nearby houses.
The application states: “The previously approved lodges were considered to be excessively large for short-term holiday use and were more akin to the lodges you see on residential parks with levels of amenity space for everyday living.
“The lodges proposed here are modest in size and although an increase in units are proposed to address the fundamental issue of viability, the council is asked to consider that these small units laid out in an organic arrangement are far more in keeping with this sites intended holiday use.”
But residents living nearby have fired in letters of complaint ahead of a planning decision later this year.
Villagers have claimed developers are “looking to shoehorn in as many lodges as possible without regard for the environmental, ecological or economical impact”.
Todd Wauchab, 68, and his wife Noreen, are among objectors.
Todd said: “To be fair, the original 16 lodges didn’t look unreasonable. They looked fairly classic and were clad with wood.
“The 32, on the plan, look like fixed caravans and they are almost touching each other.
“There’s quite a height difference between the site and the nearby houses, so they are going to be quite overlooked.
“To me, this looks like a military barracks that’s being put in – without the benefit of a parade ground.”
Noreen added: “There’s a vast increase in car parking spaces which means a lot more traffic.
“The roundabout hits you suddenly as you speed up the hill. People fly right over the roundabout because they don’t release it’s there.
“The entrance to the site is completely blind. You can’t see anything coming up the hill.
“If you’re turning right then you’ve got maybe 10 yards of visibility, which is nothing when cars are flying up the hill.”
Sheriff Hutton Castle was a favourite residence of Richard III and Henry VIII and is steeped in 600 years of royal history.
The village’s parish council are among objectors to the plan. It said the revised plans represented a “significant over-development of the site” and a “gross intrusion on neighbouring properties”.
Calling for the scheme to be rejected, one resident wrote: “This road is notorious for speeding drivers travelling both from and to the village, it is just unbelievable if this gets approval.
“The council and police both know that this is a hazardous road, how can this be happening?”
Mel Hunt told how there were already four other glamping and camping sites in and around Sheriff Hutton.
Mel, 58, said: “To me, there’s a trend of where people first apply for planning for one thing and then it gets changed.
“This is not a quiet road anymore. We regularly have accidents and a lot of the time the cars are write-offs because they are going so fast.
“We do have traffic and we do have accidents. There’s potentially double the number of vehicles pulling out onto a busy road, which means more risk.”
She added: “We’ve already got two caravan parks at the south of the village and there are three glamping sites in and around Sheriff – and they are just the ones I know of.
“We’re not short of places for people to stay around here. The initial plan was absolutely fine – I didn’t object to that. But now that they have reapplied, the scheme is entirely different.
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“When you start digging into this application you realise there’s quite a bit to this that doesn’t add up.”
Sheriff Hutton Parish Council and the developers have been contacted for comment.
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