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Park set to turn into a battle site.

Byline: By Vince Gledhill

Villagers in a in a picturesque hamlet on the North coast fear they are about to be swamped by a pounds 15m caravan park project.

The development, at Golden Sands Caravan Park, at Cresswell, would increase caravans on site from 250 to 1,300, outnumbering the village's 84 homes by 15 to one.

The park owners say plans would create 120 jobs. But villagers are unimpressed and plan to object when Castle Morpeth Council officials make a site visit and hold a public meeting at the park on March 17.

Objectors say the plan would put impossible demands on local services and also affect the nearby villages of Ellington and Lynemouth.

Parish councils from all three villages have already decided to work together to challenge the proposal.

A protest petition has been gathered by Dr Phil Kirkwood, a Cresswell villager and retired technical director, and was supported by more than 90% of villagers, he said.

"This is a massive plan. The site covers 98 hectares and if it is allowed Cresswell will disappear under an avalanche of caravans," he added.

Objectors also fear extra visitors will bring more disorder, vandalism and litter.

Cresswell parish councillor, Jean Scott, whose seafront home looks on to the caravan site, challenged the argument that business would benefit.

"Cresswell has just two businesses, an ice-cream shop and a small cafe," she said. "There are no pubs or clubs."

But she stressed that it is the sheer numbers they object to. "These are going to be six to eight berth caravans so we could be talking of an extra 7,000 people in a village that does not have the infrastructure to support them," she said.

Northumbrian Leisure, which runs Golden Sands, says the first phase will add an extra 300 static caravans, new shops, a swimming pool and sports and leisure facilities to the park.

The full project involves 750 more caravans and some holiday chalets, on 200 acres.

Northumbrian Leisure boss, Nigel Thompson, of Cresswell, says expansion will create 120 jobs. Castle Morpeth's development committee discuss the plan in April.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 3, 2004
Words:350
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