Progress of family firm's expansion
A north Northumberland family firm's expansion from a holiday-cottage company into a large-scale leisure business are progressing well.
The Stablewood Group is run by the Johnson family, headed up by mum Tina, who started the company with five holiday cottages at Budle Bay in 2011, and involving her three sons, Johny, Danny and Martin.
About a year ago, the Gazette reported that as well as the cottage porfolio increasing to 23, there were a number of other irons in the fire.
Around that time, the group reopened The Apple Inn at Lucker, while the old nursery building opposite was converted into The Apple Core, a pizzeria and creperie, selling galettes or savoury crepes.
Both The Apple Inn and The Apple Core will have been trading for a year at the start of next month and both have been successful.
Stablewood is expecting planning permission any day now to more or less double the capacity of The Apple Inn.
Elsewhere in the hamlet, a new leisure facility in the complex of Lucker Hall Steadings, which had just received planning permission last year, is under construction and set to be complete in July.
It consists of a pool/gym/sauna/spa for the cottage guests; a hairdressing salon, nail salon and spa for use by the public; and group offices for Stablewood Leisure.
The third prong is Stablewood Equestrian, which runs Alnwick Ford Equestrian at Longframlington. The venue is quickly becoming established, running events and shows for the past three months with more scheduled for this year. The new 80-jump cross-country facility is set to open this month.
The group is also awaiting a decision on its bid to convert the empty Narrowgate House, a grade II*-listed building in Alnwick, into five flats with a further three in the grounds and a crêperie in the basement.