Pub's accommodation plan for Hadrian's Wall visitors looks set to fail

A pub close to Hadrian's Wall looks set to be knocked back in its bid for new visitor accommodation

Adrian Don The Robin Hood Inn at East Wallhouses in Northumberland
The Robin Hood Inn at East Wallhouses in Northumberland

A pub close to a world heritage site looks set to be knocked back in its contentious bid to provide accommodation for tourists.

The Robin Hood Inn, near Hadrian’s Wall , is seeking to build an 18 bedroom facility to provide four star accommodation which bosses say is needed for visitors to the heritage site.

The plan has split opinion with claims the facility would be out of keeping with the rural setting close to the wall, and counter claims that it is needed to support the viability of the pub.

Council officers are siding with objectors, recommending that it be refused at a meeting this week.

The pub on the Military Road at East Wallhouses is seeking planning permission for the building on land to the north-west and rear of the premises, within the Hadrian’s Wall Heritage Zone.

Northumberland County Council papers say the proposal “aims to develop four star quality accommodation which is currently not catered for along the Hadrian’s Wall Trail.”

They say it would create year-round accommodation and provide employment for four full-time equivalent roles.

However, four letters of objection have been lodged, along with one from Matfen Parish Council.

The council has claimed the building, by virtue of its size and scale, would be “totally out of keeping with the rural setting”, would disturb the occupant of, and overlook, a nearby property, and that the vehicular access is already a “well-known accident black spot”.

It voiced fears over flooding and called for a full archaeological survey because of the proximity to the wall. Fears have also been voiced over light pollution.

Chairman Robin Douglass last night said: “Nobody in the area wants it, none of our parishioners want it. The person who lives next door to it certainly does not want it.

“It is a dangerous stretch of road. If you sit there all day sometimes you could hardly dash across the road. The traffic is very quick.

“We do not think it is necessary, people do not walk along the wall and stop there and want a bed there. Nobody complains to us that there is no accommodation in the area.”

However, the application has 11 letters of support, amid claims the proposal would revitalise and ensure the future of the Robin Hood Inn.

Among the supporters is county councillor at Ponteland , Peter Jackson, who last night said: “Good country pubs like the Robin Hood are finding it increasingly difficult to stay open. This is a way to increase the size of their business to make it more viable.”

However, council officers are recommending the application be refused by the authority’s West area committee at its meeting on Wednesday.

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