Holiday park plans for Northumberland quarry spark road and ecology fears

Plans to create a holiday park at a disused quarry on a Northumberland farm are recommended to get the go-ahead, despite parish-council concerns.

Wednesday, 15th May 2019, 11:50 am
The disused quarry site to the north-west of Longframlington, where a holiday park is proposed. Picture from Google

The outline application is for 35 units of accommodation, a mix of luxury chalets, static caravans and camping pods, at Framhill Farm, to the north-west of Longframlington.

An indicative layout features 12 of each unit and the development would also include two ponds, additional landscaping and tree planting.

The site is proposed to be accessed from a new junction off the A697 and feature turning areas and off-street parking spaces, including disabled bays.

The application is recommended for approval at next Tuesday’s (May 21) meeting of the North Northumberland Local Area Council, with planners saying the site is ‘considered a suitable location for a rural farm diversification development of this type’.

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A planning statement submitted with the application says: ‘The site is a disused quarry that has a negative impact on the character of the countryside. The development proposed would remove this scar on the landscape.’

In terms of the economic benefits, it adds: ‘The expected number of jobs created from the proposals are for two full-time jobs and five seasonal jobs.

‘It is believed that the proposals could bring an additional 17,000 to 25,000 overnight visitors to the area per annum, spending between £845,000 and £1.7million during their stay.’

But it is these additional visitors that lead to one of the concerns raised by Longframlington Parish Council.

Its objection states: ‘The traffic on the A697 has already increased by some 10,000 vehicles year on year which already causes many issues throughout the village and creates major parking issues at the village centre. The A697 is dangerous enough it does not need this extra volume.’

Parish councillors are concerned about the proposal for a new access, while also suggesting that the quarry ‘however untidy and rough, represents a natural reclamation of an industrial site with decades of consolidation for local wildlife’.

The response adds: ‘Though we would normally welcome the creation of work opportunities, we are convinced that the substantial detriments to the area and the village would not be mitigated by this provision.’

However, the planning officer’s report concludes: ‘While not complying with all criteria within policy, on balance and with due regard to all material considerations, including the potential increase to the local rural economy and the provision of new employment opportunities within the development, the proposal is considered to be acceptable.’

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service