Formal Diggle holiday lodge scheme lodged

A COVID-19 lockdown project will become a full-time holiday letting if planning permission is granted.

Paul Merrington converted the former stable building at Heaven Barn on Boat Lane in Diggle into an outhouse so it could be used by his family.

After living in it while his property was being renovated, he then decided to market it on Airbnb for short-term lets.

A COVID-19 lockdown project will become a full-time holiday letting if planning permission is granted.

However, a realisation that to do that he needed planning permission led to the retrospective application to Oldham Council.

But documents backing the scheme, access to which is just inside the Diglea conservation area, state why it should be formally approved, citing other examples in Saddleworth.

They say: “The building is located within the rear garden ground of the applicant’s house, directly to the rear of the Diggle Hotel.

“The stables were built many years ago and stabled the family horses but had not been used for many years.

“Back in the summer of 2023 the applicant advertised it on Airbnb and while it only has one bedroom, it has been very popular and attracted many tourists to the Saddleworth area.

“The applicant was unaware that using an outbuilding for short term holiday accommodation would require planning permission.

“The recently approved holiday lodges known as Hillcrest at Den Lane, Uppermill, Dovestone Holiday Park and at Burnedge Lane in Grasscroft gave the idea of using his own outbuilding as a high-end holiday lodge for people staying in the Saddleworth area for short breaks especially during key festivals such as the Whit Friday Band Contest, the Rushcart Festival and Yanks weekend.

“It is only intended to be used as a holiday lodge and not for permanent residential accommodation.

“The former stable block has no historical value to the area. It was not being used and its retention as a stable would have little impact on preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of the conservation area.”

Parking for the holiday let shares the parking for the main home and the belief is it would not harm the Green Belt and its surrounding area.

Documents add: “The proposal would not have any detrimental effect on the significance of the heritage assets and as such the proposal will preserve their special interests and setting.

“As the holiday lodge is located within the garden ground of Heaven Barn and within the village of Diggle it causes no harm to the openness of the Green Belt.

“The lodge is single storey and is clad in timber. Its design is similar to the lodges recently built at Den Lane, Uppermill, which are also located within a conservation area. The original stables had limited historic value.

“The proposed lodge is well designed and will bring tourists into the area.”

Oldham Council’s Planning committee will decide whether to grant or refuse permission.

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