A planning meeting has heard that plans for glamping pods in the centre of a popular seaside village in Cornwall would be “overbearing and intrusive”.

An application has been made to Cornwall Council to site two glamping pods on an unused plot of land next to a restaurant called Bewshea’s in Downderry, which was formerly known as The Conch. 

The pods could accommodate up to four people each, though the aim is for two adults per pod.

The local authority’s planning department recommended approval but the matter was brought before the east area planning committee by division member Cllr Armand Toms, who shared the concerns of Deviock Parish Council that the development was “overbearing and intrusive”, inappropriate for the location and result in parking / road safety concerns.

Mark Andrews, agent for the applicant, said the glamping pods would serve the demand for visitors to Downderry and its beach in the summer, and would help village facilities such as its shop and restaurant. He said the scheme had been revised following concerns by the parish council to ensure there would be no overlooking of nearby properties.

A large Cornwall Council car park almost immediately adjacent to the site as well as plenty of on-street parking would ensure there were no parking issues, he added.

Deviock Parish Council did not agree and considered the proposals entirely inappropriate for a residential area in the centre of the village.

Where the glamping pods will be situated in relation to the rest of Downderry (Pic: Google Earth / Cornwall Council)

Where the glamping pods will be situated in relation to the rest of Downderry (Pic: Google Earth / Cornwall Council)

In a statement, the council said: “We are concerned that the ‘glamping’, high end nature of this development will not attract cyclists and walkers, who are well catered for by sites in the surrounding area, but will encourage more vehicles into the heart of the village, which is often gridlocked during busy holiday periods.

“Broads Yard car park is also often full to capacity at these times and up to eight additional vehicles competing for limited on street parking will impact existing permanent residents and visitors to the surgery.

“The proximity of this development to neighbouring residents and the doctor’s surgery will create serious overlooking and privacy issues in this residential area.

“This plot has for decades served as a residential and kitchen garden and it is disingenuous to describe it as unused or unusable. We believe that this change of use would significantly alter the character of the area and negatively impact the community.

"There are more appropriate rural locations within our parish that would better accommodate such an initiative, without compromising the residential character of the village centre.”

Although the pods had been reduced in height, the parish council was still against, stating that each unit would be 75% larger than a standard shipping container, which councillors did not consider to be appropriate for the location.

East area planning committee member Cllr Adrian Parsons said: “We’re seeing more and more hospitality businesses putting in planning for holiday accommodation on site to get people through the door, so this will help businesses in close proximity and elsewhere.”

Cllr Dominic Fairman was against, saying that those staying in the pods would hold their entertainment outside at the bedroom level of nearby flats, and the presence of the pods would exacerbate parking pressures in the summer.

The committee approved the plan by eight votes in favour and two against.