Caravan enthusiasts will be able to use a site in the heart of Totnes all year round after a massive upgrade was approved.

The nationwide Caravan and Motorhome Club leases land off Steamer Quay, close to the River Dart and the town centre, from South Hams District Council.

Members of the planning committee heard that the upgrade would be good for the town and the district as a whole. It will cost the club “a substantial sum of money” to redevelop, they were told. Totnes Town Council representative Tim Bennett told them: “The site is a major element of our tourist provision and a key driver for the local economy.

“There was real concern in the town that it might have closed for good.”

Cllr John Birch (Lib Dem, Totnes) said the proposal was ‘excellent’, and went on: "What is proposed is an all-year-round site, and it will be a benefit not only to club members but also to the community.”

He said the site had been closed for the summer season, and local people had been anxious to know what was happening. "It is currently near the bottom of the league and the facilities are rock-bottom,” he said. “This is a big improvement which will attract more people to the town.”

The site has been operated for decades by the club – formerly known just as the Caravan Club. It will convert the existing grass caravan and motorhome pitches into 47 all-weather pitches with electricity and water hook-ups. The facilities’ block will be refurbished inside, and solar panels installed.

There will be a new tractor store and reception building. Cllr Birch urged the club: "Please get on and start work sooner rather than later. We don’t want another season where nothing is happening.”