Wolsingham campsite given full year approval despite railway safety fears

The Northern Echo: Durham County Council has removed the restriction which only allowed camping at Holbeck House Farm between April and September Durham County Council has removed the restriction which only allowed camping at Holbeck House Farm between April and September

A FARMER will be allowed to host campers all year round despite safety concerns raised by bosses at a neighbouring railway.

Holbeck House Farm near Wolsingham received permission from Durham County Council in 2008 to operate a campsite from April to September each year.

But the council has now agreed to lift that condition meaning the site, which is only allowed touring caravans and tents, can welcome visitors all year.

Several neighbours including the Weardale Railway objected to the condition being lifted amid fears it would mean more people using the site.

Mike Fairburn, executive general manager of the railway, said there is already a problem with visitors to the site trespassing on the railway to retrieve items, for example lost balls.

He also said the level crossing that accesses the site has been “abused” by road users constituting a “serious safety issue to both those users who abuse the crossing and the staff and passengers on the railway”.

In response, council planning officer Chris Baxter said extending the opening times for the campsite would not “intensify movements across the track by increasing numbers of visitors”.

Neighbours also feared the site could now be used to house static caravans, but Mr Baxter said the original condition for a maximum of 54 touring caravans and 21 tents would still apply.

He also said storing caravans and tents at the site would not be allowed.

The planning officer said: “Touring caravans and tents are considered to have lesser impact on surrounding landscape as, unlike static caravans, they are not permanent features on these sites and the numbers will change depending on the days of the week and time of year.

“Even though the site would be open all year, it is unlikely that the site would be at full capacity across the winter months.”

Mr Baxter said the campsite “contributes to local tourism facilities and would support the rural economy in the area”.

He said the original reason for limiting visitors to between April and September was because tents and caravans outside of those times would be clearly visible and could be an eyesore.

Site owner Carol Lister said new screening would be installed to ensure the view is protected during the autumn and winter months.

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

2:18pm Tue 8 Apr 14

S Donnelly says...

Very pleased the planners saw fit to support a local business which contributes to the area and disregarded the self-obsessed spurious opinions of the railway, an organisation which has consumed huge amounts of public money and blighted the lives of local residents whilst contributing nothing other than disruption. It's disingenuous to claim that tresppassing on the railway near Holbeck causes any danger - they almost never run heritage trains on that section. It's merely a cover for them to run a commercial operation between Wolsingham and the main railway network. Why on earth is DCC funding this operation?
Very pleased the planners saw fit to support a local business which contributes to the area and disregarded the self-obsessed spurious opinions of the railway, an organisation which has consumed huge amounts of public money and blighted the lives of local residents whilst contributing nothing other than disruption. It's disingenuous to claim that tresppassing on the railway near Holbeck causes any danger - they almost never run heritage trains on that section. It's merely a cover for them to run a commercial operation between Wolsingham and the main railway network. Why on earth is DCC funding this operation? S Donnelly
  • Score: -2

2:58pm Tue 8 Apr 14

RoverP6B says...

S Donnelly wrote:
Very pleased the planners saw fit to support a local business which contributes to the area and disregarded the self-obsessed spurious opinions of the railway, an organisation which has consumed huge amounts of public money and blighted the lives of local residents whilst contributing nothing other than disruption. It's disingenuous to claim that tresppassing on the railway near Holbeck causes any danger - they almost never run heritage trains on that section. It's merely a cover for them to run a commercial operation between Wolsingham and the main railway network. Why on earth is DCC funding this operation?
A railway contributing nothing but disruption and blighting the lives of local residents? Regardless of what sort of operations they run, any kind of railway trespass is a serious problem, and the economy of the area would be a lot worse off without that railway!
[quote][p][bold]S Donnelly[/bold] wrote: Very pleased the planners saw fit to support a local business which contributes to the area and disregarded the self-obsessed spurious opinions of the railway, an organisation which has consumed huge amounts of public money and blighted the lives of local residents whilst contributing nothing other than disruption. It's disingenuous to claim that tresppassing on the railway near Holbeck causes any danger - they almost never run heritage trains on that section. It's merely a cover for them to run a commercial operation between Wolsingham and the main railway network. Why on earth is DCC funding this operation?[/p][/quote]A railway contributing nothing but disruption and blighting the lives of local residents? Regardless of what sort of operations they run, any kind of railway trespass is a serious problem, and the economy of the area would be a lot worse off without that railway! RoverP6B
  • Score: 1

9:31am Wed 9 Apr 14

Ally F says...

My thoughts exactly S.Donnelly. You have to be a very keen train spotter to see one on the Weardale Railway - more chance of spotting Lord Lucan riding up the line on Shergar. Exactly where does Mike Fairburn think the safety issue arises from on the railway? All coal operations have stopped, all heritage services have stopped. You are far more likely to get hit by a stray sheep than a train.

The only event Weardale Heritage Railway now runs is the annual Polar Cash Cow Express in December. Much of their rolling stock is being returned, leased out or sold off, only Monday this week a heritage diesel was trundling southbound along the A68 on a low loader at less than 10mph with the mother of all traffic jams stuck behind it. That’s one way to endear oneself with the local community Mr Fairburn (alongside patronizing and condescending remarks about trespassing on a phantom railway with no trains)

If you go onto the Weardale Heritage website you can read an article by Ed Ellis dated 15-03-13 gushing forth plans-a-plenty about themed trains, none of which has materialized.
My thoughts exactly S.Donnelly. You have to be a very keen train spotter to see one on the Weardale Railway - more chance of spotting Lord Lucan riding up the line on Shergar. Exactly where does Mike Fairburn think the safety issue arises from on the railway? All coal operations have stopped, all heritage services have stopped. You are far more likely to get hit by a stray sheep than a train. The only event Weardale Heritage Railway now runs is the annual Polar Cash Cow Express in December. Much of their rolling stock is being returned, leased out or sold off, only Monday this week a heritage diesel was trundling southbound along the A68 on a low loader at less than 10mph with the mother of all traffic jams stuck behind it. That’s one way to endear oneself with the local community Mr Fairburn (alongside patronizing and condescending remarks about trespassing on a phantom railway with no trains) If you go onto the Weardale Heritage website you can read an article by Ed Ellis dated 15-03-13 gushing forth plans-a-plenty about themed trains, none of which has materialized. Ally F
  • Score: 2

1:24pm Wed 9 Apr 14

shaneo76 says...

Better use of the railway would be to remove the tracks and make it into a cycleway to complement the existing Coast to Coast line near Crawleyside and increase tourism that way. The railway always has been and always will be a waste of time and money!!
Better use of the railway would be to remove the tracks and make it into a cycleway to complement the existing Coast to Coast line near Crawleyside and increase tourism that way. The railway always has been and always will be a waste of time and money!! shaneo76
  • Score: 3

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree