Caravan park plans on hold

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A PLAN to create a £2.5million cliff-top caravan park has been withdrawn as the businessmen behind it rethink the scheme.

The proposal for the park, which would have been located at fields off the coast road between Ryhope and Seaham, has been put on hold.

John Noble, who is working with farmer Colin Snowdon on the plan, says the application has been withdrawn as they make efforts to overcome objections.

The Durham Heritage Coast partnership has said it is against the idea because it is “highly intrusive” and is on an eroding coastline which is “increasingly under threat from inappropriate development.”

It also highlights how the plot, which is on a green belt, is protected under EU legislation as a Special Area of Conservation.

Although Sunderland City and Durham County Councils have not objected directly, they are members of the partnership, along with several other authorities, regeneration groups and countryside groups.

The businessmen have also been told an archeological survey is needed on the land.

However, Mr Noble says he doubts any items of interest will be found on the land, as it was filled in by the National Coal Board with waste from the Vane Tempest Colliery after it was quarried for gravel.

Research has also been called for on the affect it could have on migratory bird in the area.

In addition to addressing the issues, the fresh plans are expected to remove proposals for any permanent buildings on the site.

Mr Noble said: “There are caravan parks, from Crimdon Dene, Whitley Bay and South Shields, all along the coast and we want to bring the benefits to Seaham.

“It’s going to bring in tourists and families, who are going to need local shops and eat in restaurants.

“We will keep going and try and make this a reality and we’ve got help from a lot of people. We will look to see if we can start work by early summer next year.”

In papers collated about the application to Durham County Council, the council’s archeology department has said insufficient information has been offered and states a number of prehistoric flints and Roman artefacts have been found in the area around Seaham, including Ryhope Dene.