A family home could be turned into a guest house after its buyer saw a demand for more visitor accommodation in a growing tourist town.
David Irwin has applied to change the use of 16 Tempest Road in Seaham from a four-bedroom house into a five-room guest house and two-bedroom family flat.
The plans have divided people, with letters of support from businesses who say they struggle to find places for colleagues to stay, and residents who have faced the same difficulties when organising large family get-togethers.
But others living close to the building, which neighbours Londonderry Court, have expressed concerns including parking issues, traffic congestion and noise and disruption from guests.
The proposal, which could create two jobs, is due to be discussed at a meeting of Durham County Council’s area planning committee central and east on Tuesday.
It has been recommended for approval subject to an agreement that the developer pays £1,619 towards the Durham Coast Management Plan and follows a series of conditions.
Our planning application supports the drive for tourism revenue in the Seaham economy.David Irwin
Planners have said the scheme would have an economic benefit to the area and would not have an adverse impact on residents or highway safety.
In his planning statement to the council, Mr Irwin said he had bought the property at auction with a view to renting it out.
The rethink came after work began on the refurbishment and he was told by a neighbour it was in a conservation area, in conflict with what he had been told by the seller, and his family found it hard to find guest accommodation for relatives.
The plans say there would be six cars at any one time and pledged: “It will not and never will be designed for long-term accommodation, a house of multi-occupation, a hostel or self-contained flats.”
Mr Irwin, who plans to improve the appearance of the faded terracotta building with a white render and new windows, adds: “It is our intention to refurbish the property to a high standard.
“Our planning application supports the drive for tourism revenue in the Seaham economy.
“As well as providing much-needed facilities for visitors, the guest house will provide wider economic benefit to the immediate area.
“By offering room-only, we will guide the guests to local cafes and restaurants on North Terrace and Church Street for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“Further economic benefit will be generated through shops, taxis, petrol stations and local public transport.”
Tuesday’s meeting will be held in the council chamber of County Hall in Durham at 1pm.