Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Green Belt Will Vanish If Hall Gets Go Ahead

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Green Belt Will Vanish If Hall Gets Go Ahead

Article excerpt

Byline: Kate Proctor Local Government Reporter

AFIVE-STAR hotel and golf course proposal which would wipe out greenbelt land and go against usual planning rules should still go ahead, say council of-ficers.

Bringing back into use the Grade II listed Woolsington Hall and its Capability Brown-inspired gardens on the outskirts of Newcastle brings more benefit to the public than harm, a planning authority report has said, although the application will now have to be referred to the Secretary of State.

Ex-Newcastle United chairman Sir John Hall's property business Cameron Hall want to transform the former hunting lodge into a 34-bedroom boutique hotel with 72 three, four and five bedroom homes in the grounds, along with parking.

There would also be a spa, an 18 hole golf course, cookery school and ten woodland lodges, however 1,000 mature woodland trees would need to be felled.

The PS23m development goes before Newcastle City Council's planning committee on Friday and has been recommened for approval.

A report that will be presented to the committee finds the proposal is technically an 'inappropriate' development in a greenbelt area, however there are 'very special circumstances' when this can be overlooked.

The council's planning department argue in this case, the special circumstances are there will be complete restoration and re-use of the park, the hall - which is on Historic England's 'at risk' register - and a promise to manage the remaining woodland for 25 years.

The report states: "When taken as a combined package, these very special circumstances are considered to result in significant public benefits that would not be otherwise achieved were it not for the development proposed."

Green and wildlife campaigners have objected to the proposals, on the grounds of the loss of green belt, mature woodland and the risk to wildlife. …

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