Northumberland National Park has granted planning permission to Brown Rigg Lodges in Bellingham to increase its holiday-let accommodation and recreational facilities.

The plans include converting three existing buildings into a bunkhouse with six ensuite rooms, the renovation of a former function hall into a café with kitchen and bar facilities, a new on-site shop and an outdoor seating and children’s play area.

Planning has also been approved to create eight new glamping units in the form of static tents, yurts, tipis and geodesic domes which will be supported by a new bathing block and parking area.

The business currently provides holiday-let accommodation through four lodges which can sleep up to six people. The new scheme is set to complement and extend its accommodation offering in an area of the National Park popular with visitors.

Located just a 15 minute walk from the centre of Bellingham, the site formerly known as Brown Rigg School, covers ten hectares. It was constructed by the National Camps Corporation in 1938 and later used as WWII evacuee accommodation and then as a County Council boarding school for outdoor education until its closure in the 1980s.

Tony Gates, chief executive at the Northumberland National Park Authority, explains: “This is an exciting sustainable tourism development which will make a positive contribution to the rural economy.

“The plans submitted by Brown Rigg Lodges provide new and varied accommodation opportunities for visitors to stay and enjoy the special qualities of our National Park.

“The new glamping units will complement existing accommodation in the local area and the scheme also plays an important role in protecting the history and legacy of the site by giving redundant school buildings a new lease of life.

“The conversion is set to ensure their preservation and enable an established rural business to expand which will also benefit the trade of other businesses in the area.

“During 2016 Northumberland National Park Authority has approved 96% of all planning applications. We are committed to supporting the sustainable growth of rural communities within the National Park, whilst safeguarding the environment and historic character of the landscape.”