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‘Romantic escape’ New Forest glamping site shut down because of noisy sex

A tent on the Secret Garden site looks like the perfect love nest but lacks privacy for passionate couples
A tent on the Secret Garden site looks like the perfect love nest but lacks privacy for passionate couples - BOOKING.COM

A luxury glamping site that promised couples a “romantic escape” is being forced to close because neighbours complained about sex noises from the tents.

Planning chiefs ruled that the site in Lymington, Hants, in the New Forest, caused a “harmful” level of disturbance to neighbours whose properties adjoined it and refused it planning permission.

The neighbours complained they were forced to “‘awkwardly” listen to “sex in thin tents”.

They also reported that the people on the Secret Garden Glamping site also created a nuisance with karaoke and loud parties.

Liz Feay, the site owner, set up two 5m tents in the garden of her three-bedroom, £405,000 semi-detached house without planning permission.

The glamping site backs on to a number of neighbouring properties
The glamping site backs on to a number of neighbouring properties - DAVID CLARKE/SOLENT NEWS AND PHOTO AGENCY

After four years in business, she applied for retrospective planning permission to use it five months a year. But her application has now been rejected by New Forest district council.

Council officials said the canvas material of the tents lacked any soundproofing, contributing to the “significant intensification” of noise in the residential area.

They also highlighted the “party atmosphere” that fed-up neighbours had been forced to live next to.

On a booking website, a two-night stay in one of the tents is priced at £206, and Secret Garden Glamping claims to provide people with a “taste of life’s simple pleasures”.

The noise is too much

But the nearby residents were less than thrilled. Mel Sims, 51, wrote: “I live directly behind this garden and see the tent top from my windows

“The noise from this garden/field in the summer is too much, often past midnight. There is music, loud chat, sex in the thin tents we all awkwardly hear and swearing.”

Neighbour Mel Sim was one of those who protested about hearing couples having sex in the tents
Neighbour Mel Sim was one of those who protested about hearing couples having sex in the tents - ANDREW CROFT/SOLENT NEWS AND PHOTO AGENCY

Another neighbour, Daniel Wells, said: “Most upsetting perhaps is that on several occasions we have had to close the window to block out the sound of a couple engaging in acts of a sexual nature, which the fabric walls of a tent clearly did not, and do not contain.”

Sophie Tagg, the council case officer, said: “Whilst the site is fairly large, the area where the tents have been located is in a part of the garden close to nearby residential properties.

“The tents are constructed only of a thin canvas material and therefore lack soundproofing, meaning noise disturbance emanates not just from the outside garden areas of the application site but also from within the tents.”

A decision notice addressed to Mrs Feay cites as reasons for the refusal “the material intensification in the use of a quiet rear garden area” and the “recreational impacts of the proposed development on the New Forest Special Area of Conservation”.

Mrs Feay – who says she is a “born and bred New Forest girl” with a “genuine love for the area and the people who live here” – declined to comment. She is entitled to appeal.