THE Duke of Northumberland’s plans for a holiday park at a hamlet in the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage site are facing major protests.
The duke wants to develop the four-acre farmland he owns at Harlow Hill, west of Heddon on the Military Road, with accommodation, a play area, clubhouse and shops.
But a string of objections has been lodged, led by English Heritage, who say the proposal would cause unacceptable damage to the World Heritage site.
County planners received 23 separate letters of protest, along with petitions carrying 65 names.
And Stamfordham Parish Council has put forward a six-point case against the plans, highlighting road dangers, green belt preservation and the scale of the development.
The parish also claims the holiday park would be too close to the Heritage Site and “would not be appropriate to the type of tourists attracted to Hadrian’s Wall”.
Colin Barnes, head of planning at the duke’s Northumberland Estates, says the holiday complex is aimed at improving tourism facilities in the area.
But Stamfordham Parish Council chairman Coun Edward Trevelyan responded: “It is over-development in a small hamlet in the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage site, and would create traffic problems on what is quite a narrow stretch of the Military Road going through Harlow Hill.
“There could be anything up to 220 people at this holiday park at any given time and when the applicants say on-site facilities will reduce the need to travel, that’s nonsense.
“Who is going to come to Northumberland on holiday and sit on their backsides in one place for the whole time?”
The plans include 38 accommodation units, 12 being converted from existing farm buildings and 26 newly-built.
Playhouse and clubhouse facilities would also be built, while other existing buildings on the farm would be turned into a manager’s suite, office and shop.
Mr Barnes added: “We have been working with planning officers and have made minor design changes, reducing the number of units from 40 to 38, and changing the parking lay-out.
“They asked us to make various minor amendments but they have been about general design rather than the principle of the application.
“The wish is to improve the tourist accommodation in that area and that is what we hope to do at Harlow Hill.”
Three U-shaped landscaped courtyards would be linked by a series of footpaths while there would be parking for 43 cars.
Ponteland West councillor Veronica Jones said: “I have objected because of the traffic situation.
“We have had a lot of accidents and safety measures there, culminating in the 40mph limit because there are also issues of speeding.
“I’m also concerned for the safety of walkers on what is a very narrow road.”
Page 2 - Duke's son looks to drill geothermal wells for renewable energy village >>
Duke's son looks to drill geothermal wells for renewable energy village
AMBITIOUS plans to drill one of the UK’s first commercial geothermal wells in County Durham have been unveiled by the son of the Duke of Northumberland.
The pioneering scheme could revive hopes for the success of a proposed eco-village at Weardale, which were thrown into doubt following the winding up of regeneration agency One NorthEast.
Now the private sector has taken the lead role in moving the project forward, in the form of George Percy, managing director of Cluff Geothermal Ltd – and son of the Duke of Northumberland.
Mr Percy has teamed up with mining veteran Algy Cluff, 70, to form Cluff Geothermal, utilising technology from Newcastle University. They hope to begin drilling the site later this year.
Yesterday, Cluff Geothermal Limited announced it had entered into an "exclusive agreement" with Lafarge Cement UK to explore the potential of the geothermal energy source at the site of the proposed Eastgate Renewable Energy Village. The plans will see the first commercial generation of hot water in the UK through the geothermal process.
Mr Percy, 26, said: "Eastgate is one of the best places in Europe to tap into these resources. There are already two bore holes on site, which have proved the presence of natural heat generation in the highest category in the UK, as well as the most permeable granite ever found anywhere in the world.
"We will need to deepen one of these bore holes to about three kilometres, where we expect the temperature of the hot water to exceed 120C.
"This temperature is hot enough to generate electricity, and still support other heat uses afterwards, such as a hydrothermal spa. This is what the Renewable Energy Village is all about – showcasing pioneering techniques."
Proposals to generate electricity on site using biomass, as envisaged in the original plans for the Renewable Energy Village, continue to be explored.