TWENTY jobs are to be created as a hotel pushes on with multi-million pound plans to expand.
Seaham Hall will more than double its number of bedrooms when a new annexe to its hotel is built later this year.
The extension will see 26 bedrooms and four suites added to the venue’s existing 20 rooms, with 20 new staff to be taken to join its workforce of between 140 and 150.
The new building will be constructed on land where Byron’s Court, a row of staff cottages now stands to the east of the hall.
The accommodation will be built in a modern style, and linked to the main building by a covered glass walkway.
Revised proposals were approved by planners after the award-winning hotel’s last owners put an original scheme for its expansion.
“Seaham Hall hasn’t got enough bedrooms and Tom Maxfield had some designs done by architects some years ago,” said executive general manager Bernard Bloodworth.
“We’ve changed them considerably from what his ideas were and it will be a completely new building.
“Seaham runs at a very high occupancy and we need more bedrooms which will open up a whole new area of business for us.
“There are lots of conferences which won’t come here because there aren’t enough rooms, and large weddings often want to take up around 20 bedrooms alone.
“Because of our location, there’s not a lot of other places for us to send them on to.
“The suites will be amazing because they will have views right up and down the coast.”
The development means the Great North Festival, a celebration of the region’s food and drink producers due to be held in June, will be postponed until next year.
Mr Bloodworth said: “We have decided to postpone the festival because it’s going in the same area.
“We can’t have great big heavy plant and thousands of people in adjacent fields.
“We didn’t want to, but we thought we’d better postpone it and we hope to hold the festival some time next year and it will be bigger and better.
“We got lots of positive support for it and people were all for it, but they understand the reasons why we’re doing it.”