FEARS that a new holiday village would threaten a rare series of 60 tiny waterfalls on an isolated Wyedean brook have been allayed after Forest planners rejected a scheme for 41 lodges.

Tremolo Limited’s bid to change the use of Forest and Wye Valley campsite at The Bearse sparked fears they would endanger the nearby Slade Brook by attracting more visitors.

Conservationists feared the lodges threatened to upset the delicate balance of water and limestone which has led to the Forest of Dean boasting what is said to be the finest and longest set of naturally occurring tufa dams in the UK.

The proposals which included the replacement of 60 touring caravan and glamping pitches with the lodges, were rejected by the Forest Council’s development management committee on Tuesday (April 9).

The proposal included the demolition of all existing facilities buildings with environmental and landscape enhancements.

The plans were referred to the committee by ward councillor Chris McFarling (Green, St Briavels) amid concerns it would encourage an increase in human pressure from the development of a greater capacity for all year-round accommodation and car parking next to the Slade Brook SSSI.

More than a dozen residents objected, along with the parish council.

They also raised concerns over an increase in effluent and that the development is not in-keeping with the national landscape.

Josh Bailey, objecting on behalf of the Wye Valley National Landscape, told the commitee the site is tranquil apart from the seasonal peaks of tourism.

He said the lodges would create a “cul-de-sac style development in the open countryside”.

“It will erode the bucolic field which contributes positively to the character and appearance of the national landscape, diminishing a sense of place,” he said.

“It’s not inconceivable that a far greater occupancy rate than suggested will occur. Possibly even 100 per cent all year round.”

Richard Sharp told the committee St Briavels Parish Council objected due to its detrimental impact on the Wye Valley National Landscape, increased recreational pressure on the Slade Brook and poor accessibility to the site.

Philippa Davies, the applicant’s agent, said the proposals would not be an extension of the holiday park, it was a change in the type of caravan to be placed on the site.

“It’s important to note we have no outstanding objections from statutory consultees or the county ecologist,” she said.

She added the developers had brought forward a sensitive scheme for the location and while they understand there are concerns the proposed development would be an improvement.

“Not only do the proposals involve a reduction of the number of holiday units on site, we have provided data to show there will be a similar level of occupancy throughout the year.”

But Councillor McFarling said major developments to protected sites like the Slade Brook would lead to disturbance to wildlife, trampling and increased fire risk and contamination of water sources from dog faeces.

“A walk-through today would notice litter, barbecue leftovers, chard wood, plastic kindling wrappers, old trolleys and alcohol cans in the woods close to the campsite and the brook,” he said.

Cllr Julia Gooch (Progressive Independents, Newent and Taynton) proposed approving the scheme in line with the officer’s recommendation as the site is already in operation as a tourism site. This was seconded by Cllr Clayton Williams (C, Hartpury and Redmarley).

Councillors rejected the scheme by eight votes to four, saying said it would result in a new development in the open countryside which would impact the landscape and character of the site and area of outstanding beauty.