Linton Camp: New plans for aparthotel in Yorkshire Dales feature spa, gym, bowling alley and cinema

The ongoing staffing crisis facing the hospitality industry in the tourism-dependent Yorkshire Dales has been laid bare after planners backed a revised proposal for an exclusive holiday complex in the highly protected area.

Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority officers have recommended its planning committee approves Linton Regeneration Company’s application to build an aparthotel at Linton Camp, despite it creating a fraction of the jobs which helped the controversial major development gain consent in 2020.

The multi-million pound scheme was among the largest scale proposals to have been approved in recent decades in the national park, where major developments are very rare.

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The revised proposal comes a year after the landlord of two Yorkshire Dales inns called on the authority to take “drastic action” and show greater flexibility in its strict planning regime to help resolve the hospitality staff shortage and housing crisis facing the area.

Revised plans for an aparthotel (Image: Linton Regeneration Company)Revised plans for an aparthotel (Image: Linton Regeneration Company)
Revised plans for an aparthotel (Image: Linton Regeneration Company)

Prominent entrepreneurs in the national park say the lack of housing affordable to lower wage workers is driving “both the shortage of young people able to remain in this area to work, and the ability of those from away wishing to take up employment”.

The Linton Regeneration Company said staffing concerns had emerged since it was given consent to build a high-end hotel and leisure complex on the 18.6-acre Wharfedale site, which, in the past, was a World War Two camp and school for evacuees, and later a holiday home.

The revised proposal would see 24 self-contained ‘serviced’ holiday units over 2 floors, with a spa, gym, a 24-seat cinema, two-lane bowling alley and a bar and restaurant, nine self-contained holiday lodges and a 76-space underground car park.

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The developer has said a review had found constuction costs had risen signiicantly and up to 154 staff would be needed to successfully staff a five-star operation, as consented, while the revised proposal would only need a maximum of 48 staff.

The planning application states: “The conclusion of this review, in a post-Brexit, post-pendemic world, with reference to clear live issues faced by businesses in the locality, led to a conclusion that staffing could well be a significant constraint to successful operations in the short and long term.”

However, continuing to its objections over the firm’s plans, Linton Parish Council said the revised proposal would not sufficiently benefit the local community in order to make it a worthwhile proposition.

A parish council spokesman said: “The job opportunities and facilities which may have been considered plus points in the original application are vastly reduced.

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“The previous development applications highlighted the huge benefits that the hotel would bring to the local population in terms of full time employment opportunities within the national park.

“This application has seen a major reduction in the employment opportunities as a direct reflection of the reduction of the hotel’s central facilities (restaurant, bar and spa) which is a major negative.”

Ahead of the meeting on Tuesday (March 12), a planning officer’s report states it was “considered that the approved development would secure a significant level of employment and visitor spend in the local economy”.

It concludes: “The model now proposed is based on less serviced facilities with a smaller permanent team and outsourcing some of the services to existing local businesses.

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“The operation of the site would contain more self-contained units than theapproved scheme, however, it is considered these would still generate a significant level of employment and visitor spend in the local economy.”

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