Expansion of Northumberland coastal inn approved, despite parking fears

A popular hotel and restaurant has been given permission to increase the number of rooms it offers, despite parking concerns.

Friday, 20th August 2021, 2:08 pm
Updated Friday, 20th August 2021, 2:29 pm
Expansion plans at the Bamburgh Castle Inn in Seahouses given the green light.

Bosses at the Bamburgh Castle Inn, in Seahouses, had applied to add 18 en-suite accommodations to their existing site overlooking the town’s harbour.

Fears had been raised over how the tourist hotspot would cope with the extra cars such an expansion would bring, but development chiefs there were enough spaces nearby to deal with any uptick in demand.

Supporting the proposals, Berwick county councillor Georgina Hill said: “It’s refreshing to be looking at an application which isn’t another uninspiring housing development eating into the greenbelt, just providing second homes.

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“It’s really good to see an application which is positive for the local economy. This is happening across all of Northumberland, we’re less of a secret now and there’s not enough hotel space in the county.

“I know what a nightmare the parking issue is, but that is market forces and I have to support this, with sympathy for the residents, and I don’t think we have any grounds to object.”

As well as adding 18 rooms, taking the venue’s total to 49, the application also requested permission to increase the floor space in its bar and restaurant area by 120 square metres.

However, this did not include any plans to increase the business’s parking provision, which will stay at just 22 spaces.

But Northumberland County Council’s (NCC) planning department ruled this was acceptable for a ‘town centre located development’ with alternative parking locations nearby.

Despite this, 30 objections were submitted by members of the public, focussing on the ‘potential exacerbation’ of existing traffic issues, including access for emergency services.

Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson, the county council’s cabinet member for children and young people, told the North Northumberland Local Area Council he could not support the proposals.

He added: “It’s not that I don’t think this is a good thing – the Bamburgh Castle Inn expanding is a good thing. But I would prefer them to go away and come back with a better scheme, one that doesn’t put in as many extra rooms without any extra parking spaces.”

Despite Cllr Renner Thompson’s concerns however, the committee voted to approve the application 6-5.

James Harrison, Local Democracy Reporter