A CAMPSITE on the edge of a Somerset beauty spot could rapidly expand to accommodate the growing Hinkley Point C workforce.

Mr T Ayre operates the Moorhouse Campsite in Holford, which lies just off the A39 near the north-eastern edge of the Quantock Hills area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).

Mr Ayre has applied to expand the campsite to provide 115 new caravan pitches, allowing Hinkley Point C workers to live within easy reach of the construction site for a three-year period.

Somerset Council is expected to make a decision on the proposals by Christmas.

The new pitches would be created at the eastern edge of Moorhouse Farm, with access onto an unnamed road which links the A39 to Stogursey.

A new ablutions block would be built in the centre of the wider campsite, providing toilets and showers (including one with disabled access) for the workforce.

A smaller number of pitches for Hinkley Point C purposes was previously set aside at the campsite’s northern edge, with the temporary planning permission which were secured in 2018 being extended.

A spokesman for Acorus (representing the applicant) said: “The site has been operated by the family, and provided accommodation for Hinkley Point workers, for a number of years.

“It has been well-received by workers and EDF Energy, which operates Hinkley Point C and has set the principle for the site to be used for such purposes.

“Given there appears not only to be a need for additional worker accommodation, over an extended period of time, but also that the Moorhouse Farm site is a named site in the EDF considerations, it is suggested that there is reasonable and clear need for the proposed development.

“There would be no overall effects on the landscape character of the area and no effect on the integrity of the AONB or its setting.

“Visual effects would be limited to gaps in the vegetation from the surrounding road and footpath network, primarily at close proximity.”

Around 8,600 workers will be needed during the peak of the construction programme on the new nuclear power station – around 3,000 higher than was originally predicted.

EDF Energy is implementing various measures to mitigate this “worker uplift”, including the provision of affordable homes in Nether Stowey, expanding its existing campuses in Bridgwater and on the site itself, and increasing the number of pitches available at numerous local campsites.

Three campsites were identified by EDF to deliver at least 360 new pitches between them to accommodate 470 workers – namely the Mill Lane Camping and Caravan Park in Fiddington, Quantock Lakes in Nether Stowey, and Moorhouse Farm.

Sedgemoor District Council approved plans for a further 58 pitches at Mill Lane in March, with Quantock Lakes expected to provide around 100 additional places based on proposals teased in September 2022.

Somerset Council is expected to make a decision on the Holford plans before the end of the year.

However, it is not currently clear whether this decision will be taken in public by its planning committee west (which handles major applications in the former Somerset West and Taunton area) or through the delegated powers of its planning officers.