New holiday accommodation proposed at Hailsham farm

A Hailsham farm could be setting up new holiday accommodation if plans are given the go-ahead.

Monday, 15th November 2021, 5:00 pm

Two family units of accommodation in the form of shepherd’s huts and camping pods may be coming to Gildridge Farm in New Road if plans submitted to Wealden District Council are approved.

The plans are part of a ‘sensitive farm diversification scheme’ and would include use of an existing access track to reduce disruption to the environment.

Each unit – both mobile, self-catered and made of timber – would consist of a larger shepherd’s hut containing kitchen/bathroom facilities and a bedroom as well as a neighbouring smaller ‘pod’ for additional sleeping spaces. The proposal aims to serve four-five people per unit.

Example of a shepherd's hut

There will also be minimal low energy lighting to reduce light pollution with visitors expected to use torches. Bat/bird boxes and more habitats will be created as part of a wider environmental scheme too, the plans say.

Documents say, “The development will not have any adverse impacts on the open countryside or its character.”

Surrounded by woodland and using an existing track network means the impact would be minimal, with the only hard surface addition being two car parking spaces – one per unit. Plans call the proposal ‘discreet’ and ‘low-key’.

Although the site is set on a working farm, plans say ‘the new accommodation will support the farm through further diversification and which is environmentally sensitive and will seek enhancements where possible’ while also addressing the ‘existing need for tourism accommodation in the district’.

Plans say, “Following a very difficult climate and year, the applicant is looking for sensitive income streams that will support the long-term future of the farm which is the principal activity on the wider farm.

“Indeed, the applicant has a large herd of cattle and farms the wider land as well as managing this environmentally sensitive landscape for conservation purposes. The current proposals will continue to support the ongoing costs and investment required for the agricultural business that is undertaken on site.

“The scheme will support the future prosperity of the farm and will create benefits for the local village and the local economy.”

Members of the public can comment on the plans until December 1 (planning reference: WD/2021/2554/F).