A MUSICIAN is seeking planning permission for a £1.2m wedding venue on the outskirts of Darlington.

If approved, The Westfield Wedding Venue would boast a 210 guest capacity, a play zone for children and on-site ‘glamping’ huts – as well as a toilet big enough for oversized wedding dresses.

The ambitious plan, submitted to Darlington Borough Council on Friday, comes from musician Mark Middlemiss from The Wild Murphys.

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The Northern Echo: PLANS: Artistic impression of how the new wedding venue near Darlington could look

Artist's impression of how the new wedding venue near Darlington could look

Following his father’s death, Mr Middlemiss inherited farmland close to Hurworth that his family had worked on for more than 60 years.

He was inspired to build a venue on the land after spending more than decade regularly performing at weddings.

The musician, known professionally as Middi, said: “My dad sadly passed away in 2015 and I took over the farm.

“Not being much of a farmer, I had to look at other ways of making use of the land.

“My band has been playing at weddings four nights a week for the last 12 years and every venue we go into gave me ideas of how to do things better.”

The venue, proposed for a site on Roundhill Road close to The Northern Echo stadium, could be completed next summer.

If planning permission is granted, construction would begin in March 2017, with a grand gala opening event scheduled for September.

However, Mr Middlemiss says the plans have already met with some resistance from Darlington Borough Council, claiming the authority is concerned about possible competition for existing venues.

“We had an informal pre-application meeting with them and they did not want this to go ahead – I think it will be an uphill battle to get permission," he added.

A spokeswoman for Darlington Borough Council said: “The informal pre planning discussion that took place with this developer is a free confidential service that the Council offers potential applicants to assist them in forming their thoughts before they decide whether to submit a planning application and start to incur fees.

“The pre application service is generally seen as a positive contribution to the planning service we offer.

“The council would not wish to comment further on the contents of any confidential conversations, other than to confirm that competition between commercial operators is not a matter that is relevant nor would it be taken into account when a planning decision is taken.”