Plans submitted expand a rural Northumberland wedding venue hit by Covid-19 pandemic

Plans have been lodged to expand a rural Northumberland wedding venue, which has suffered a ‘profound impact’ from Covid-19.

By Ben O'Connell
Sunday, 20th December 2020, 11:24 am
Ellingham Hall. Picture from Google
Ellingham Hall. Picture from Google

Permission is being sought for two extensions to create 16 new bedrooms at Ellingham Hall.

The application explains that the award-winning venue has seen 71 weddings postponed since March 2020, which has had ‘a huge financial impact and some staff have been made redundant’.

However, ‘as it is not expected that weddings can resume until at least April 2021, the hall has an opportunity to invest and expand the business, so that when the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, Ellingham Hall is ready to come back fighting, being able to employ more staff and bring much-needed income to Northumberland’.

On this basis, the desire is ‘for a timely planning decision to enable works to start on site in February so that groundworks and the major structural works are completed before weddings recommence’.

Currently, the venue can cater for 140 guests and has 17 bedrooms available in the hall as well as seven cottages to the north of the building.

The proposal includes the addition of a West Wing on the former servants’ quarters site and the reinstatement of the East Wing to bring the hall’s occupancy to 63 guests. There would be improved accessibility through the provision of four new ground-floor bedrooms and a lift.

A design statement submitted with the bid explains that there would be 12 new bedrooms in a new wing to the west, which would ‘sit hidden behind the garden wall and be extended in the same style as the existing rooms to the west of the gable’.

The extension, which would also form a new courtyard for a sheltered seating area and a disabled access, would replace the original servants’ wing which was destroyed by fire in May 1904.

Meanwhile, a photograph from 1880 shows that the East Wing was then intact, with a second gable and it is proposed to rebuild a wing in this location.

It would provide a new garden room that will open up onto a terrace, providing a second access to the garden, a new bar, and four further bedrooms including a large suite above.

So far, three residents have objected alongside Ellingham Parish Council.

The Parish Council has raised concerns about parking, means of access, highway safety and traffic; ‘the density of the buildings within the development, impacting the rural environment and affecting local residents’; and ‘the loss of wildlife habitat owing to the increase in foot and vehicle traffic to, from and through the site’.

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