Villagers in Dunstan signal their opposition to new-build holiday accommodation on the Northumberland coast

Signs have been put up around a Northumberland village in a silent protest against new-build holiday accommodation.
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A planning application seeking permission to build two holiday lets in the grounds of Dunstan House, near Craster, was recently submitted by Janet Stansfield.

The application includes plans for a cold water natural swimming pool and gardens accommodating different activities for guests including yoga and meditation, outdoor dining with a fire pit, and an adventure playground.

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However, campaigners opposing the plans have labelled it a ‘mini-holiday park’ which threatens to spoil the tranquillity of the village.

Dunstan, near Craster.Dunstan, near Craster.
Dunstan, near Craster.

Dunstan resident Jackie Reeves said: “We are determined to protect the interest of residents, some of who have lived here most of their lives, plus visitors that love and appreciate the peace and tranquillity of Dunstan.

"These plans take no account of the surrounding area of Dunstan village nor its distinctive character and setting as well as the very pressing need to ensure the long-term sustainability of our north Northumberland coastal villages for residents.”

Concerns raised by opponents include loss of tranquillity, noise pollution, highways safety and environmental damage.

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They point out that nearly half of homes in the village offer holiday accommodation and that both the Northumberland Local Plan and parish neighbourhood plan reflect this by seeking to ensure that all new builds are for permanent residents only.

Martin Smith, chairman of Craster Parish Council, said: “This is a major concern for Dunstan residents who enjoy living in an attractive and tranquil village location which we wish to preserve and protect for all to enjoy.

“Alongside neighbouring Craster, we welcome visitors all year to enjoy the coastline and all it has to offer in our fantastic position in the heart of the AONB. We are fortunate that the area already offers a huge variety and volume of holiday accommodation for visitors to enjoy, alongside existing local amenities.

"Local development plan policies for our area have been hard won and cannot now be forfeit to suit the needs of developers.”

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A previous bid by the applicant was refused last year by Northumberland County Council’s planning committee.

It had been recommended for approval by officers but attracted 25 objections with residents fearing it could open the floodgates for further developments of this kind.

Councillors decided the proposal ‘would not make a positive contribution to local character and would not integrate with the surrounding built environment’.

A planning report on the applicant’s behalf explains that the design of the proposed holiday rental homes has since been revised.

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The height of the buildings has been reduced to a single storey, and a storey and a half and the cladding has been changed to ensure that the two houses will integrate with the local context.

"Together with the new houses the landscaping and natural swimming pool will create a truly unique holiday destination on the Northumberland coast," states the report.

"It is important that the tourist industry continues to develop and innovate in order to attract existing and new visitors that will ensure a place remains sustainable. This proposal represents a new kind of development as yet unrealised on this part of the coast.”

The proposals will be presented to councillors at a future North Northumberland Local Area Council Committee.