Plans for ‘unique’ £8.5m leisure development that could create up to 50 jobs

Hurworth Burn Reservoir
Hurworth Burn Reservoir

Two town property owners are at the centre of proposals for an £8.5 million leisure development that could create up to 50 jobs.

Hartlepool businessmen Brett and Terence Wilkinson are seeking planning permission for the scheme at Hurworth Burn Reservoir near Wingate.

Longscar Centre, Seaton Carew

Longscar Centre, Seaton Carew

It consists of 81 touring caravan pitches, luxury cabins overlooking the reservoir and in woodland, a central hub building with bar/restaurant and shop and watersports centre for activities such as kayaking, sailing, diving, and windsurfing.

It comes after Brett Wilkinson gained outline permission for 52 homes at the Hart Reservoir site last year, while Terence owns the Longscar Building at Seaton Carew.

The applicants say the development is unique and will provide a boost to the region’s tourist economy and create between 30 to 50 jobs.

A design and access statement for the proposal states: “This project aims to bring a new lease of life to the former Hartlepool Water Reservoir at Hurworth Burn.

“The site is in an accessible location and provides a unique opportunity for a high quality leisure and tourism development.

“This will bring visitors into the local area, create jobs, and also create beneficial knock on effects to other tourist attractions in the locality and the wider region.”

A major national caravan operator is said to have shown an interest in the site which the applicants say will fill a gap in the network.

The application also includes plans for 26 two and three bedroom lodges, and eight woodland lodges.

The applicants say the accommodation side of the development alone could bring in excess of £800,000 a year to the local economy.

The proposal added: “The scheme is to provide a major tourism opportunity of regional significance, and significant investment is required to get it started.

“The Hurworth Burn development will result in the creation of a number of jobs which will be of benefit to the local area.

“Whilst the site is located in a rural position, it is easily accessible from major roads (A19 and A1), and is also close to major towns such as Hartlepool and cities such as Durham, Newcastle etc.

“It is in a convenient location to access other regional attractions.

“On doing market research we believe there is nothing quite like this in the area.”

The applicants bought the 60-acre site in 2014.

The reservoir was built in 1867 to provide water to the old docks to supply steam engines used in the ship building industry.

The site last used to supply commercial customers in Hartlepool in 2001.

The application will be decided by Durham County Council.