A SOUTH Lakeland farming couple will be able to diversify their business after plans for 15 holiday lodges were given the go ahead.

Applicants Edward and Ethel Wilson, both 80, sought consent for 15 lodges to be built on an agricultural field at Guides Farm in Flookburgh, which has been in the family since the 1850s.

A previous application for 30 holiday lodges had been submitted last June but was withdrawn after South Lakeland District Council's (SLDC) planning committee recommended refusal.

Julian Handy, representing the couple at last Thursday's meeting, said he had known the applicants for many years and they were 'diligent farmers'.

"It's all about the modern day viability of the farm," he said. "And to make sure that this is continued for generation to generation, one after another, diversification is key. Hence the reason for the application."

He said that the scheme had been designed with 'minimal impact' to the landscape and it was a 'sensible' number of lodges.

"We have considered all the issues, whether it be ecology or highways access," he said.

Four letters of objection were received to the plans and seven letters of support from local residents.

And Lower Holker Parish Council noted the reduction in lodges applied for and resolved to support the renewed application.

The planning officer said that some residents were nervous about the introduction of more heavy vehicles on the lane and added that a construction management plan could be put in place.

Cllr Janette Jenkinson said that she liked the application because a 'lovely swathe of field' was going to be kept.

"I think that shows off this landscape to visitors," she said.

"There's one or two caravan parks in this area and they're very well supported and actually what they're doing is keeping our village amenities going and I think they ought to be commended."