Otters, bats, badgers and birds could all be put at risk by plans for an £8.5m water sports centre and caravan park on the outskirts of Hartlepool, council bosses have been warned.
Members of Durham County Council are due to decide on the application for the holiday and activity centre when it goes before them on Tuesday, January 8.
Panning officers have advised them to reject the proposals for land near Hurworth Burn Reservoir due to concerns over the impact on the environment and wildlife.
But tourism bosses have also argued there is ‘broad support and need’ for more attractions and accomodation for holiday makers in County Durham.
Plans were submitted to the county council in March 2017, seeking permission for 81 caravan pitches, 26 log cabins, water sports centre and restaurant on the western shore of the reservoir.
According to documents submitted by the applicants, named as Brett and Terence Wilkinson, the project, if approved, is expected to cost about £8.5m and could create up to 56 jobs.
It adds: “The scheme is to provide a major tourism opportunity of regional significance, and significant investment is required to get it started.
“It is hoped that the local authorities will recognise this.
“The proposal is unique, due to the opportunity to reuse a former reservoir for leisure activities.”
The reservoir was previously owned by Hartlepool Water and was bought by the applicants in 2014.
However, despite promises of economic benefits, the public and other environmental organisations have not been convinced this would outweigh the impact on wildlife.
The Durham Wildlife Trust, Durham Bird Club and Teesmouth Bird Club have all submitted objections, as did Natural England and the Environment Agency, which both complained they had not been given enough information.
James Harrison, Local Democracy Reporting Service