PLANS for a new ‘quirky’ new glamping site near Beamish Museum have been approved by Durham County Council.
In recent years, several applications have been lodged to redevelop land to the west of New Road Garage, off New Road, near Beamish village.
This included the installation of six glamping pods served by a car park and cycle store and the formation of a pond.
According to planning documents, the glamping pods would also offer a quirky heritage experience for visitors, with the units being formed from vintage railway wagons which have been refurbished and repurposed.
The plans came from the owners of Durham Motor Services, which is located nearby.
Initial plans were lodged in August 2019 before being withdrawn in October the same year.
An amended scheme, submitted to the council in late 2020, added a proposed office use at a former shop and room in Woodland View.
During consultation, a letter from three residents was submitted raising concerns about highway safety, potential disruption, the impact on ecology, and site management.
However, Durham County Council’s planning department said the application was acceptable and noted the benefits to the local economy.
In a decision report published last month, planners said the scale and appearance of the development was “appropriate to the countryside location [and] heavily screened from the public environment in a former quarry.”
The application was also supported by the county’s tourism management agency, Visit County Durham.
The site, which will be named Beamish Glamping, is expected to create three part-time jobs.
Conditions of the planning consent include the manager ensuring “no disposable barbecues are used by any group or individual” and the pods will be limited to holiday purposes only and must “not be occupied continuously by any individual or group for a period in excess of one calendar month.”
The decision report goes on to say: “The proposed units are small scale and of quirky and engaging appearance, being [formed] around converted railway goods wagons.
“At a stretch this could be argued to reflect by small degree the historic operations of the mineral railways that serviced the mines, including along the line of the now A693 immediately south and the Consett to Sunderland railway path to the north.”