COUNCILLORS have refused planning permission for a former castle in a quaint village to be turned into a 10-bedroom hotel after an outcry by residents.
The decision comes in a long-running saga that has seen various developers wanting to turn the Grade II-listed, 18th Century castle at Castle Eden, into a swanky hotel.
Members of Durham County Council’s central and east planning committee rejected the plans due to an “adverse impact on local residents”, as well as highways and drainage issues.
The castle, the former offices of the National Coal Board, which had been previously owned by the Burdon family, is currently a mansion.
According to a report to a planning meeting, Castle Eden Parish Council had objected to the plans on the grounds of concerns over a lack of parking, inadequate access and loss of residential amenity.
The Environment Agency also objected, saying no information had been provided to ensure non-mains drainage is adequate.
There were 64 letters of objection sent in from residents, as well as one from Castle Eden Residents’ Association, which was on behalf of 17 locals.
Concerns included plans for a bar and restaurant to be part of the proposal, as well as functions including weddings taking place in the grounds.
A summary of their concerns includes a statement that: “The existing character of this area is rural tranquil with only residential uses and the church.
“A commercial hotel would generate a significant level of activity, including residents, visitors to the restaurant and bar, deliveries and functions.”
The applicant, The Castle Eden Partnership, said it had tried to engage with the local community to address its concerns, but to no avail.
The partnership said during large parties held at the venue in recent years that no objections had been made about increased activity in the village.
It added that 12 full-time jobs and economic benefits could have been created if the application was successful.
The report featured background information, including previous plans for a hotel at the site in 1977, which was refused and an aged persons’ residence, restaurant, conference facilities and bar, which was withdrawn in 1983.