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Caravan boss defends plans.

Caravan site boss Nigel Thompson has defended his plans to create a massive holiday village on the Northumberland coast.

Mr Thompson says critics of the plan have misrepresented his vision of creating a major development, along the lines of Center Parcs, that will bring cash and jobs into a deprived coalfield area.

His proposal is to increase the number of caravans on the Golden Sands site he runs at Cresswell from around 250 to about 1,100.

Cresswell is a village of 84 homes, with one ice cream shop and a small beachside cafe. Residents opposed to the plan fear they would be swamped by tourists.

The village's parish council has teamed up with neighbouring Ellington and Lynemouth parish councils to jointly oppose the plan, which will be discussed by Castle Morpeth borough councillors next month.

In preparation for that meeting, the council has organised a public meeting at Golden Sands on March 17.

Mr Thompson, who lives in Cresswell, will try to convince his opponents that any disadvantages will be far outweighed by the advantages of his ambitious plans, which are expected to cost pounds 15m and take 15 years to fully complete.

As well as increasing the number of caravans, he wants to build a major leisure centre.

A nearby area of wetland will be turned into a boating lake at the heart of a wildlife area. Untamed woodland fringing the pond will be turned into a managed setting to encourage more wildlife, he added.

His critics say plans to put a road through the wood will scare away the deer, foxes, red squirrels and bats that inhabit it.

Mr Thompson said: "I want to create a high-quality Center Parcs-style development, but one that will also be open to people in the area.

"At the moment, there is nothing in the way of leisure facilities."
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 6, 2004
Words:307
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