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Boost for holiday park expansion objectors.

People fighting a proposed pounds 15m, Centre Parcs-style holiday complex in their seaside community have taken renewed encouragement from victory in a separate planning battle.

Campaigners in Cresswell, near Druridge Bay, Northumberland, are delighted after beating off a bid by one of two large holiday parks in the village to be allowed to open for an extra month each year.

Now they are hoping the decision has sounded the death knell for a separate ( and even more controversial ( proposal to turn the other park into a huge holiday complex of up to 1,350 caravans and chalets.

The plan by Northumbrian Leisure to expand the 250-caravan Golden Sands park by adding an extra 1,100 units together with a swimming pool and other leisure facilities has been on the back burner since May when it was deferred at the applicant's request. At the time, Castle Morpeth councillors were being recommended to reject the bid.

The plan was greeted with horror by locals in Cresswell who claimed it would result in Golden Sands outnumbering the village's 84 homes by 15 to one.

Villagers believe it is only a matter of time before Northumbrian Leisure comes back with a revised application, but they have taken heart from the recent decision on the neighbouring Cresswell Towers caravan park. A planning inspector has thrown out a bid by owner Great British Holiday Parks for the site to be allowed to extend its eight-month opening period to include November, ruling that villagers deserve to retain a four-month break from the impact of holidaymakers.

Local people are now hoping that the decision means the Planning Inspectorate would not countenance any major enlargement of the Golden Sands park and its likely increase in holiday activity in the village.

Yesterday Cresswell resident and retired technical director Dr Phil Kirkwood said: "It would be foolish to believe that the decision on Cresswell Towers spells the end of the plans for Golden Sands, but it is certainly encouraging and gives us added hope of a similar outcome."

Northumbrian Leisure boss Nigel Thompson has said the pounds 15m project, which would include a swimming pool, sports and leisure facilities and shops, would create 120 jobs.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 1, 2004
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