Decision day for holiday developments plans

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Proposals for two tourism developments in the Amble area are due to be decided by councillors.

At Thursday’s meeting of the North Northumberland Local Area Council, planning officers are recommending that members approve a bid for a bunkhouse and holiday apartments in the seaside town, but refuse plans for a caravan site at nearby High Hauxley.

The nine-bedroom bunkhouse and two flats would be built on the former Coquet Shorebase Trust site, near Coble Quay and Amble Marina.

The building would feature four-storey and three-storey elements – the neighbouring block of flats is five storeys – with four family rooms on the ground floor and two, three-bedroom duplex apartments set across the second and third floors. There would be further ancillary space to the east wing with bedroom accommodation above.

It would be accessed from Coquet Street, with parking being one of the aspects which has concerned the town council.

In its objection, the council says that it ‘welcomes this addition to Amble’s visitor accommodation with specific emphasis on cyclist accommodation with the bunkhouse and cycle repair facilities.

‘However, we object on the grounds of the location outline and the small amount of car parking within the site.’

The council’s highways department had originally called for 12 spaces, but the applicant subsequently amended the proposal to provide 11 spaces – one per room plus two staff spaces – which is felt to be acceptable.

Meanwhile, the application at High Hauxley is for a caravan park to include 30 touring pitches, five tent pitches, an office/coffee shop and a toilet/shower block on land west of Beacon Hill Farm.

Hauxley Parish Council and 42 residents have objected, but the scheme has also sparked 17 letters of support.

The planning officer has recommended refusal because it ‘proposes an inappropriate form of development that would deviate from the character of the area through the introduction of development of a size and type that would not be akin to a rural village’.

However, the situation is more complicated than that, as this application is a resubmission of a previous proposal that was refused due to concerns over surface-water drainage and flood risk.

That bid is subject to an ongoing appeal and the planning officer’s report explains that this technical drainage issue has been resolved as part of this new application, which means that councillors could refuse the new plans, but the proposal may yet go ahead anyway.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service