Plan for £500-a-night treehouses at historic Yorkshire coaching inn in North York Moors

A plan to create three luxury treehouses in the grounds of an 18th century coaching inn has stirred controversy in a village on the southern boundary of the North York Moors National Park.

The owners of the grade II listed Fox And Hounds Country Inn in Sinnington, near Pickering, have lodged a planning application with Ryedale District Council to add to the inn’s 14 bedrooms with timber treehouses which could be let for up to £500 a night, saying there is strong demand for further accommodation.

Agents for the inn said extra income from the treehouses would ensure the continued conservation of an 18th century designated heritage asset in a conservation area.

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Documents submitted with the proposal state two one-bedroom treehouses would have an internal 43.7sq m floor area as well as a 20sq m outside decking area, while a two-bedroom treehouse would feature a 71.3sq m floor area and a 29.6sq m outside decking area.

The Fox and Hounds Country Inn in Sinnington

Agents for the business said the treehouses would be sited on the pub’s eastern boundary, blending with the existing trees, but extra landscaping and tree planting would further screen the proposal.

The application states the treehouses would be “in keeping with the surrounding rural context”.

It adds: “The proposed development is modest in scale and will not be overbearing in its setting and as the surrounding land was a paddock, farmland and farm buildings. There will, therefore, be no overlooking, nor any loss of light nor amenity presently enjoyed by any of the adjoining properties.”

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The scheme has attracted support from some residents who have written to the planning authority, describing them as “sympathetic to the country area”, and that it represented a “wonderful opportunity to create a fantastic , interesting holiday experience”.

However, the proposal has infuriated numerous villagers who believe guests staying at the seven-metre high treehouses would create late-night noise and have uniterrupted views over their homes and gardens.

One objector has stated: “To say these proposed treehouses will not have any visual impact is ridiculous.”

Another resident wrote: “We do not believe this development is in the character of the village. The application is in an area of high landscape value and the height of the buildings will make them visible from many areas including from the main street.”

Other residents questions whether what has been a “very successful business” needs treehouses to make it viable.

One resident wrote: “The business plan needs looking at. The charges they are suggesting for renting these treehouses are beyond belief.”

Ahead of a decision on the proposal, the authority’s conservation officer has said the treehouses would introduce an alien domestic-built element into an undeveloped area.

She stated: “Their visual prominence and inter visibility with the fields beyond when looking east from the pub, will have an arresting effect when looking into the wider landscape. I also have strong concerns regarding the degree of increased activity the treehouses are likely to create and the impact that this would have on the otherwise tranquil green space.”