Plans to expand visitor facilities at Bolam Lake Country Park in Northumberland

Plans to extend a visitor facility at a country park look set to get the green light next week.

Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 1:22 pm
Bolam Lake

An application for an extension to the visitor centre, comprising a prefabricated unit and a link to the existing building, at Bolam Lake Country Park, Belsay, is recommended for approval at meeting of the Castle Morpeth Local Area Council.

The proposals are not controversial and have not sparked any objections, but have to be decided by committee as it is a bid by Northumberland County Council, seeking planning permission for development on county council-owned land.

The extension to the café building, a portable cabin of approximately 20 square metres, would be hidden by a new timber screen. It would be located to the rear of the existing building to accommodate kitchen facilities.

The planning officer concludes that subject to conditions, ‘there would be no impact on the designated Local Wildlife Site, while the design of the extension is both subservient and well detailed. As such, the proposals are acceptable’.

The aim of the scheme is to enable a greater range of food and refreshments to be served to visitors and is just one element of a £180,000 upgrade plan.

It follows the construction of a new bird hide overlooking the water earlier this year, after a suggestion from the Friend’s of Bolam Lake group, as well as improvements to the toilets and car parks plus new information boards.

This is all part of an almost £1million scheme by Northumberland County Council, announced last February, to improve Bolam Lake as well as Plessey Woods Country Park, near Bedlington, and Druridge Bay Country Park.

To help fund the work, parking charges have been reintroduced at all three sites, although the first hour is free. All-day parking costs £3, while up to two hours is £1.60. Seasonal permits valid in all three parks cost £35.