Holiday lodges on site of First World War camp could trigger landslips, warn residents

Residents of a tourist hotspot seaside village have raised concerns a proposed holiday lodge development on the site of a First World War army camp would be a blot on the landscape and could trigger landslips.

Hinderwell Parish Council has told the North York Moors National Park Authority the Trig Point Properties Ltd’s plan to bulldoze single storey barrack blocks, latrines and other buildings in Staithes to develop the area for holiday use could worsen the village’s “party destination” issues.

The concerns have been highlighted ahead of the authority’s planning committee meeting on Thursday (Jan 10) to consider the plan for 14 sea-view lodges in a conservation area overlooking the village.

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Documents submitted with the proposal underline the design of the lodges would be simple and in keeping with the barrack buildings previously used by regiments including the Durham Light Infantry.

Staithes

Agents for the applicant stated the site is “of no important historical significance”, that it would improve views to the North Sea and the visual impact of the development would be minimised through landscaping.

The agents stated: “None of the buildings is of particular architectural merit, and their removal may be considered to be an improvement to the area.”

Commenting on the plans, a conservation officer for the authority said to state the former army base was of “no important historical significance” was “at best insensitive to the veterans who served there”.

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The officer stated: “The cultural heritage of the early part of the 20th century and the impact of the two world wars on our communities, landscape and culture is not something that should be so easily dismissed.

"I am particularly surprised at this flippancy in Hinderwell Parish which is celebrating the centenary of the war memorial this year and takes such pride in this monument, like many other parishes.”

In its objection to the proposal, a parish council spokesman said the scheme represented overdevelopment on unstable land, where landslips have already occurred and been repaired by park authority.

He described the planned development as “visually unattractive” and said the built skyline would be significantly elevated and visible from footpaths including the Cleveland Way.

The parish council spokesman added: “Staithes is becoming increasingly popular as a party destination and disturbance from late-night revellers is increasing tiresome, especially from elevated cottages. The proposed development looks perfect for parties and the elevated position looks perfect for spreading noise widely across the village.”

Nevertheless, planning officers will tell the meeting the principle of the use of the land as a tourism accommodation site was established with approval some years ago for holiday lodges as they would benefit the local economy.

An officer’s report does not directly address some of the parish council’s concerns, but concludes the proposal would not have an adverse impact on the character or historic interests of the original development.

The report concludes the benefits of the scheme would outweigh the potential harm. It states: “Due to the scale of the existing built development on the site, the additional development to the east combined with improved landscaping will lead to an overall improvement in the appearance and landscape setting of the development within its village context.”