Revamp plans for Northumberland holiday park and golf course

Plans to revamp a north Northumberland leisure resort have been lodged, reviving a similar scheme proposed by the previous owner.

Saturday, 2nd November 2019, 1:56 pm
Percy Wood Golf and Country Retreat

A series of linked applications are being submitted to the county council relating to Percy Wood Golf and Country Retreat in Swarland.

Back in 2017, full plans were lodged for the development of up to 216 new holiday caravans, a centrally-located leisure hub and a reconfigured golf course to include a relocated clubhouse, alongside an outline bid for up to 16 homes on the current clubhouse site.

This sparked claims from a caravan owner that he and other current residents were being ignored at the expense of new customers, but the proposals were withdrawn in December 2017 after the park was bought by Harrison Leisure UK Ltd.

Now, another outline scheme for up to 16 houses on the current clubhouse and car park site has been drawn up.

The clubhouse facilities would be incorporated into a reconfigured reception area with café and retail facilities off Leamington Lane – the subject of a separate application submitted back in May.

It includes a proposed new restaurant and storage facility with an outdoor seating area, splash park and caravan sales area plus 29 parking spaces and a sheltered bin store.

A third bid will seek permission to change the use of the existing driving range in order to site 60 additional caravans.

The existing 18-hole golf course would remain unaffected, with the existing green buffer of trees remaining between the site and the course.

The application suggests that the caravans would better complement the proposed homes to the north; nine homes on land south-west of The Old Tweed Mill were granted outline approval in May this year, with the impact of stray golf balls on the development among the issues discussed when the plans were given the go-ahead by councillors last November.

A planning statement with the application notes that while the 2017 proposals were withdrawn, ‘the officer’s reports for both applications recommended their approval; supporting the principle of the developments and in particular the efforts taken to enhance the park’s tourism offer’.

It adds that the new plans are submitted in the context of difficult times for golf clubs, with memberships declining significantly across the country.

The statement continues: ‘In addition, holiday-makers and visitors to the park now demand a greater choice of leisure facilities, and Percy Wood’s current offer is dominated solely by a golf course.

‘Indeed, the wider park absorbs the loss-making golf club enterprise, which is in turn restricting levels of investment into Percy Wood generally.

‘These two trends represent the key drivers for developing and increasing investment in Percy Wood, with a particular need for a greater choice of leisure facilities in order to align the park with the demands of consumers in the modern holiday sector, along with the enhancement and diversification of the site’s caravan offer.’