Yorkshire aristocrat's plans to build new restaurant and car park in Runswick Bay attracts villagers' objections

A 15,000-acre estate owned by the Marquis Of Normanby is facing a wave of opposition to a proposal to build a restaurant and 44-space car park to alleviate congestion in a popular coastal village.

The Mulgrave Estate has applied to the North York Moors National Park Authority to develop land to south east of Bank Top, Runswick Bay, beside the Cleveland Way trail.

The proposal comes just four months after the estate’s plan to build a housing and industrial development on the edge of Egton was rejected amid claims it would ride roughshod through policies designed to protect national park’s landscapes, communities, heritage and character.

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Planning papers lodged by the estate state the proposal would not detract from the quality of life of local residents or the experience of visitors, and that the purpose of the car park is to make off street provision for tourist cars when the visitor car park at the bottom of the bank is full.

Runswick BayRunswick Bay
Runswick Bay

They state the current car park is frequently full in peak season and at weekends leading cars to park either on the road down the bank, which causes congestion and dangerous manoeuvring, or on street along Hinderwell and Ellerby lanes, which also causes congestion.

The documents state: “The proposal provides for economic, social, and environmental benefits through the provision of new a cafe, parking for visitors and will help alleviate the current environmental problems caused by on street parking and traffic congestion in this part of Runswick Bay.”

Whilst parking has been an issue in Runswick Bay for some time, the estate claims the issue has worsened in the last two years, particularly since the end of the first pandemic lockdown in July 2020.

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The papers state: “The parish council expressed concerns to the Mulgrave Estate at that time that every available piece of gras in the village seemed to have cars parked on it.”

The papers submitted by the estate address objections from residents over a number of potential issues, such as congestion, but statutory consultees such as Hinderwell Parish Council, Yorkshire Water and the park’s conservation officers have raised red flags.

Yorkshire Water said plans to plant trees to screen the development could “seriously jeopardise” its ability to maintain the public sewerage network.

The park authority’s archaeologist has said “an abundance of caution” would be needed in developing the site as it includes a former fougasse mine – a hole where petrol was buried to be exploded in the event of an invasion to rain down on advancing troops.

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The authority’s conservation team has said the development would conflict with several policies, such as keeping food outlets in built-up areas, and have an unacceptable impact on the unique landscape.

The conservation officers added they believe there is enough parking in the area.

Objecting to the scheme, a Hinderwell Parish Council spokesman said: “The location is not suitable for any development as it will damage the local environment. There is no identified need for a car park at that location and is contrary to your policy on car parks. We have received a large number of objections to this application.”