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Yoga retreat at centre of planning row
12:00pm Thursday 31st October 2013 in News
A HOLISTIC yoga retreat in a quiet village near Shipston has become embroiled in a planning row after residents launched legal action.
Last month, Stratford District Council granted retrospective planning permission to Holycombe Holistic Retreat Centre, in Whichford, for a campsite and allowed them to hold up to four weddings a year.
Applicants Andy and Sally Birtwell were also granted permission for part change of use of the house for residential and residential study courses along with part change of studio accommodation for residential and occasional holiday lets.
But solicitor Bridget Barker, aged 55, who lives 400 yards away, along with other neighbours, is challenging the council’s decision to grant permission for the campsite.
“The council should not be allowing a material change of use in a beautiful, tranquil Cotswold village,” she said.
“The noise has been intolerable and there’s traffic and litter.
We wouldn’t be taking action against them unless we thought it was quite serious.”
The six-acre retreat, set on the historic site of a Norman castle, was opened by the couple about 12 years ago. It offers an array of courses and classes including yoga, Pilates and circle dancing.
Mr Birtwell, 67, said he was puzzled by his neighbours’ reaction and not had any complaints for two years about the noise since they changed the rules.
He said after groups of campers made a “dreadful”
noise in 2011, they now only allow groups of up to four people stay – limiting the site to 40 people – and have banned music.
“We do admit very slight amounts of noise. There’s the noise of children playing and adults talking if the wind’s in the wrong direction,” he said.
“They said we were causing cars to park in the village but no one parks in the village at all, they park next to their tents. The neighbours are making a fuss, it’s a storm in a tea cup.”
Stratford District Council confirmed it had received a pre-action protocol letter followed by Judicial Review Claim form and associated documentation.
A spokesman said it would be inappropriate for the Council to comment on its position at this time.
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