CAMPAIGNERS have hit out over plans for an 120-pitch campsite in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

A petition group, called Beautiful Bradfield, was launched after a change of use application to turn farmland into a campsite was lodged to Tendring Council by Ragmarsh Farm.

If the plans are given the greenlight, the campsite would be based by the River Stour on land west of Shore Lane.

Campers would be able to use the site between April 1 and October 1.

But campaigners are concerned the campsite would increase traffic around the village, and locals would experience noise, litter and pollution from campers.

Simon Bullimore, who is part of Beautiful Bradfield, said the group has been dropping off leaflets to all the homes in the village.

“We are encouraging opposition from those who live in the area rather than those who wish to camp here,” he added.

“It would be a disaster to the wider community if the long fought for Area of Outstanding Natura Beauty (AONB) status were to be scarred by a campsite so soon.

A statement from the group said the application for the site is much larger than the pop-up campsite last year.

It added: “The reason for distributing this leaflet is to inform people who live in Bradfield of the effect of the proposals and to seek opposition to them at a time when a public meeting or personal canvassing is impossible.”

So far 34 objections have been sent to Tendring Council about the application, but 114 supporting comments have been submitted.

A Ragmarsh Farm spokesman said: “Unfortunately a campaign has started in the village, but the opening line is that we have applied for planning permission for a campsite at Bradfield Beach. This is untrue.

“The campsite is in a field the other side of the road to the beach. However, because of the emotional attachment villagers have to the beach, they are immediately pushed to go on and object, not fully knowing the facts.”

She said 62 per cent of British farmers had to diversify in order to survive last year, which is why Ragmarsh Farm ran a pop-up campsite last summer.

She added: “We have applied for 120 pitches, this is a maximum capacity and not a daily target.

“We appreciate this is a starting point to then discuss with the planners and we agreed to this at a parish council meeting.

“We don’t expect to be anywhere near this full for most of the time.

“We appreciate we are in an AONB - there are 46 AONBs in the UK and they all contain campsites and we don’t think being in an AONB should preclude a well run campsite. Natural England have commented that they have no objection to the application.”