A campaign is underway to stop a loved campsite from being turned into a luxury Center Parcs-style woodland lodge retreat.
Regular campers at the Thorpe Woodland site in Harling, Shirley and Ian Martin, have set up a website to save it from a planning application, currently with Breckland Council, to change it to a luxury resort.
They say that it is unfair that the site, which is owned by the Forestry Commission, should go from offering affordable, basic camping holidays to a more exclusive, luxury resort which can cost several thousand pounds to book in high season.
A booking for a caravan pitch for a week would cost nearer £150.
The site is currently managed by Camping in the Forest, a partner organisation of the Forestry Commission, the government body which manages publically-owned forests.
The application has been made by Forest Holidays LLP, a private company part-owned by the Forestry Commission.
The site currently has 460 pitches for caravans or tents - a figure contested by those campaigning for the site. The plans would replace those pitches with 70 timber cabins constructed to blend in with the natural habitat. Two of the eleven two-storey cabins would even boast ‘treehouse extensions’.
Mrs Martin said she has been visiting the site from her Essex home with her husband for 13 years. They have a seasonal pitch, meaning they can visit when they like.
She said: “Affordable camping is being taken away so people with a lot of money can use these lodges.”
She added that the Forestry Commission should be able to identify some of its other land for such a development, rather than take away a site used by campers.
Breckland Council is yet to hear the application, but has already received scores of letters from users of the site and others, urging them to reject the application.
Reasons include the loss of an affordable holiday camping site and fears that the proposed development will lead to an increase in human impact on the ecologically sensitive area.
The RSPB has recommended the plans be turned down until more information is given about the potential impact on the site, which is partly in, and next to, the Breckland Special Protection Area and Breckland Forest Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Visit the campaign website at www. savethorpecampsite.co.uk.