Controversial forest lodges are torn down after four year planning row

Cornwall hotel that hosted G7 tears down beachside chalets which were built for the summit without planning permission

  • Carbis Bay Hotel in Cornwall built beach huts for world leaders at the G7 summit
  • The meeting rooms impressed other G7 member leaders as Britain hosted talks
  • Cornwall Council ruled they were built without planning permission and must go
  • The hotel lost its Planning Inspectorate appeal and started tearing them down 

A luxury hotel that hosted the G7 summit has finally started to dismantle its row of controversial ‘forest lodges’ that were erected without planning permission.

Carbis Bay Hotel built the rooms it said were required for the gathering of world leaders in June last year without getting the green light from Cornwall Council.

But furious campaigners then objected after discovering trees and wildlife habitats were ripped down and destroyed to make way for the buildings in spring 2021.

Cornwall Council had ordered the structures be dismantled, but the hotel had managed to stave off this request with appeals, which were all thrown out. 

The notice requires the hotel to demolish the three buildings and reinstate the land to its former level, gradient and condition before the development was undertaken.

BEFORE: The Carbis Bay Hotel built the beachside huts while it was in the spotlight of the world’s media as the venue of last year’s G7 summit in St Ives, Cornwall

AFTER: Work has finally started to dismantle the row of controversial forest lodges built without planning permission

Workers could be seen this week tearing down the huts 

The luxury hotel broke planning rules to put the lodges up two years after a planning application was rejected with overwhelming local opposition

An aerial view of the venue at Carbis Bay, Cornwall, in April last year. The summit was the first meeting between G7 leaders since the beginning of the pandemic

The Carbis Bay Hotel built the rooms it said were required for the gathering of world leaders in June last year without the green light from Cornwall Council

A notice ordered the hotel to demolish the three buildings and reinstate the land to its former level, gradient and condition

As the dismantling of the lodges finally began this week, it marked the end of a local planning saga that had dragged on for the last four years. 

Alarm bells were first raised when a row of chalets, which the hotel had claimed were built as ‘meeting rooms’ for G7 in June 2021, appeared and struck a resounding resemblance to plans for forest lodges which had been rejected years ago. 

The hotel had started work on the meeting rooms early in 2021 and only submitted a retrospective planning application after concern was raised by Cornwall Council.

However, the proprietors later withdrew the application prompting the enforcement notice to be issued.

The Planning Inspectorate would eventually rule the notice should be upheld.

Announcing his decision, Inspector Peter Jarratt said: ‘I have found very significant harm to the character and appearance of the landscape which is contrary to national and local policies.

‘Whilst issues relating to ecology and biodiversity, and to drainage, coastal and land stability could be mitigated through the imposition of appropriately worded conditions these would not overcome the level of harm I have found. 

‘Although it is to the hotel’s considerable credit that it has hosted the G7 summit and now wishes to adapt the meeting rooms to holiday accommodation, the economic benefits arising from the development… are insufficient to outweigh the harm to the landscape.’

Angry campaigners objected after discovering trees and wildlife habitats destroyed to make way for the buildings

Photographs showed Boris Johnson and his wife leading his counterparts, including US President Joe Biden and his wife Jill, across the temporary bridge on the Cornish beach last June

The furore surrounding Carbis Bay Hotels’ ‘forest lodge’ projects first began in 2018.

The new sites, which would have included a spa with multiple two-storey forest lodges, were intended to ‘keep up with the growing’ demand of the business, run by father and son pair Stephen and Malcolm Baker. 

But they met a brick wall in terms of local resistance after more than 400 people originally objected to the plans.

Planning officers at Cornwall Council saw the harm to the area as overriding any potential boost to the local economy.

St Ives Town Council submitted a ‘strongest’ objection on the grounds it would harm the use of the footpath and beach.

Meanwhile, the National Trust said the builds would ‘diminish the important contribution made by the site to the undeveloped hillside.’

Local fury began to boil over again last year after it was announced the Carbis Bay Hotel would host world leaders during the global G7 summit in June 2021.

Furious locals claimed the hotel was ripping down trees and destroying badger setts in a bid to erect the controversial ‘forest huts’. The hotel has always claimed no badgers were harmed.

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