PLANS for a “significantly harmful” campsite not far from the M5 in Somerset have been thrown out by planning inspectors.

Anthony Ormerod applied in September 2021 to construct a service building and ten new bell tents, with associated car parking, on land north of Sweethay Lane near Trull.

Mr Ormerod lodged an appeal against Somerset West and Taunton Council on the grounds of non-determination – meaning it did not come to a decision in a reasonable amount of time.

But the Planning Inspectorate has struck down this appeal, arguing the development would be hugely detrimental to the local area.

The site lies to the south of Dipford Farm at the edge of the parish of Trull, a short distance from Taunton Deane services between Taunton and Wellington.

The Galmington Stream runs close to the site, with a public footpath running along its eastern edge.

The council (now Somerset Council) indicated before the inquiry formally opened that it would have refused the plans if it had been allowed to do so.

Planning inspector C. Rose visited the site on June 28 and published their findings before a meeting of Somerset Council’s planning committee west on Tuesday (September 19).

They said the site was “highly visible and prominent” from the footpath, and the planned service building would be in “an isolated position” within the surrounding countryside.

They added: “The proposal would appear harsh, isolated and prominent in the landscape.

“The proposed car park and bell tents would be unusual and detrimental built forms in a rural landscape devoid of such features.

“I therefore find that the proposed building, car park and bell tents would have
an unacceptable impact upon the character and appearance of the area.”

The inspector said this impact would be the case even if the bell tents were removed during the winter months, since the remainder of the development would be of a more permanent nature.

While additional planting could help to screen the site, the inspector argued that the service building would remain “unnatural and incongruous” in relation to the open countryside that surrounded it.

The inspector acknowledged that the proposal would bring “some benefits to the local community and businesses”, with those staying at the camp-site being able to walk into Trull and the neighbouring villages to use their amenities.

They also noted the sustainability of this site and the local amenities would be enhanced as more of the nearby Orchard Grove development was built out over the coming years.

However, they concluded that the harm to the landscape and character of the area outweighed any economic benefits the site may bring.

They said: “The proposal would cause significant harm to the character and appearance of the area.”

A separate appeal, calling for the council to pay Mr. Ormerod’s legal costs on the grounds of “unreasonable behaviour”, was also refused.