Disused naturist park gets new lease of life

Nicholsons Lockhart Garratt was commissioned by Haulfryn Group Ltd to provide our suite of environmental services to support the renovation of a disused parcel of land at Surrey Downs Sun Club at Edgeley Holiday Park.

The site consists of a dilapidated naturist park in a heavily treed setting.  The scope of the project was to demolish the existing accommodations pods and redevelop the site with luxury holiday lodges.  Our teams assisted with undertaking baseline arboricultural, ecology, forestry and landscape surveys.  This approach meant that liaison on key environmental constraints could be easily discussed in-house and effectively communicated to the project team before the layout of the site had been designed.

We worked closely with the project planners (Lambe Planning & Design) project architect (A & M Architectural Partnership) to ensure that the key environmental constraints were identified and incorporated into the design scheme.  This resulted in the positions of the lodges being located sensitively around existing mature trees, retaining key habitats as well as screening vegetation to a nearby public footpath.  Combined with the fact that a Woodland Management Plan had been prepared for the proactive management of a woodland block around the perimeter of the site and the development of a detailed landscape design scheme, meant that the scheme would result in an overall positive impact on the existing environmental features.

Although the scheme is considered of exceptionally high design, it received a lot of resistance but fortunately not on environmental grounds.  This resulted in a delay of the anticipated decision date and the scheme was eventually approved at planning committee on 1st February 2018.

In order to ensure that the project did not impact on sensitive habitats our arboricultural and ecology teams have worked swiftly to ensure that site clearance works were completed before the bird-nesting season.  This has meant supervisory visits during tree removal works, as well as meeting with representatives of the Local Planning Authority to confirm that the approved protection measures are fit for purpose. This level of supervision will continue throughout the course of the construction programme and will include: overseeing the installation of utilities in proximity to retained trees, monitoring of earthworks to avoid impacting reptiles, application for a Natural England European Protected Species licence in respect of roosting bats and the installation of new landscape planting.

This project has been challenging, yet very rewarding.  We have been able to demonstrate that utilising a range of our services has meant that the project has progressed with little objection relating to environmental factors.

We are looking forward to assisting with the remaining supervision elements and ensuring that this project meets the anticipated completion date later this year.