Quirky railway wagon glamping pods approved for site near Beamish

Plans for a new railway-themed ‘glamping’ site near Beamish Museum have been given the green light.

A total of six glamping pods will be created on a redevelopment of land to the west of New Road Garage, off New Road, near Beamish village.

According to planning documents, the glamping pods will offer a quirky heritage experience for visitors, with the units being formed from vintage railway wagons which have been refurbished and repurposed.

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A new pond, car park and cycle store have also been approved by Durham County Council for the site.

The site will take shape on land off New Road, near Beamish VillageThe site will take shape on land off New Road, near Beamish Village
The site will take shape on land off New Road, near Beamish Village

The plans have been in the pipeline for several years and came from the owners of Durham Motor Services, which is located nearby.

Initial plans were lodged in August 2019 before being withdrawn in October the same year.

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An amended scheme, submitted to Durham County Council in late 2020, added a proposed office use at a former shop and room in Woodland View.

During consultation, a letter from three residents was submitted raising concerns about highway safety, potential disruption, the impact on ecology, and site management.

However, Durham County Council’s planning department said the application was acceptable and noted the benefits to the local economy.

In a decision report published in December 2020, planners said the scale and appearance of the development was “appropriate to the countryside location [and] heavily screened from the public environment in a former quarry.”

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The application was also supported by the county’s tourism management agency, Visit County Durham.

As part of the planning approval, council planners imposed several conditions on the glamping site.

This includes the site’s manager ensuring that “no disposable barbeques are used by any group or individual using or visiting the development at any time.”

In addition, the pods will be limited to ‘holiday purposes only’ and must “not be occupied continuously by any individual or group for a period in excess of one calendar month.”

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The decision report goes on to say: “The proposed units are small scale and of quirky and engaging appearance, being [formed] around converted railway goods wagons.

“At a stretch this could be argued to reflect by small degree the historic operations of the mineral railways that serviced the mines, including along the line of the now A693 immediately south and the Consett to Sunderland railway path to the north.”

The site, which will be named Beamish Glamping, is also expected to create three part-time jobs.

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