Green light recommended for campsite at country park despite objections
Contentious plans for a caravan and camping site at Druridge Bay Country Park, which have sparked a number of objections, are being recommended for approval.
Northumberland County Council’s proposals for a plot to the south of Ladyburn Lake are supported by planners, with councillors advised to follow suit at next Tuesday’s (May 21) North Northumberland Local Area Council.
The development would provide stone-surfaced access tracks and 20 caravan/camper-van pitches with electrical hook-up points and nearby water standpipes. Seven grass tent pitches would also be available.
A waste-water cassette wash-out facility would be provided nearby, as well as a small modular building with facilities for washing dishes.
It would operate for a maximum of seven months of the year, between the beginning of April and the end of October.
Druridge Bay Country Park was created in 1983 following the restoration and reclamation of an opencast mine, before opening to the public in 1986.
A report to councillors says: ‘One aspect specifically included in the formation of the country park was the provision for camping and picnicking. An area in the south-east section of the park was set aside for this use with carefully planned tree planting creating sheltered bays, serviced with a stone track to allow vehicular access.
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‘To the present day, this area provides an ideal area for camping which is well screened from the rest of the park and sheltered from prevailing winds. However, due to the modern popularity of caravans/camper-vans, the current set aside area is no longer considered fit for purpose.’
Nonetheless, the scheme has attracted 35 objections from residents – and three letters of support – while East Chevington Parish Council is opposed to what it describes as ‘simply commercialisation of public land’ which ‘will change the nature of the country park, as well as increasing traffic in the area’.
Back in February last year, the local authority revealed proposals to replace the old play equipment, extend and improve the café and outdoor seating area, and introduce ‘a new facility to meet the rising demand for camping and touring caravan facilities along this section of the coast’.
It is part of an almost £1million scheme to improve Druridge Bay as well as Plessey Woods Country Park, between Bedlington and Stannington, and Bolam Lake Country Park, near Morpeth, to be funded through the reintroduction of parking charges at the three sites.
At Druridge Bay, the play area reopened last August following a £130,000 refurb, before, in October, a planning application for an extension to the café area and internal alterations to the visitor centre to form three showers within the toilet area, as well as a new patio area, was given the green light.
Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service