PLANNING permission is being sought to transform a country hotel following its sale.

A leisure firm has submitted plans to Durham County Council to extend The Jersey Farm Hotel, on Darlington Road, in Barnard Castle.

The hotel closed its doors earlier this year and was sold to Apartment Group with many couples worried about wedding plans arranged before the sale.

One couple engaged to be married at the Teesdale beauty spot said they may be forced to postpone their dream day following the closure.

Daniel Barnes and Rebecca Peebles said they booked the Jersey Farm Hotel, for their summer 2021 wedding as part of a package deal.

The Northern Echo:

Picture: Daniel Barnes and his fiancée Rebecca Peebles

The couple were pleading for the former hotel owners to return their deposit before they were finally contacted by a representative after repeated attempts to contact them.

Since, new owner Apartment Group, has proposed to extend the hotel and provide a new wedding reception area, function suite, kitchen, outdoor ceremony area and additional car parking spaces.

In a statement submitted with the application, the business said over the last ten years the site has been used primarily as a wedding venue, but claimed revenue has decreased in the past few years.

The design and access statement reads: "Our approach will be to maintain this agricultural feel and provide it with rustic feel. The materials to be used will be timber, stone and glass and metal sheeting replicating the agricultural outlook and maintaining its sustainability.

"By using a flat roof connection area, tying in the existing building to the new function suite, we are accentuating the drama of the proposed venue. We have attempted to replicate a modern sustainable farm barn by the external envelope and the full timber detailing of the interior construction and furnishings. We are further developing this feel in the landscaping approach to the surrounding garden areas.

"One of the reasons for the decline of this hotel in recent years, has been the scale of the wedding venue area, not being able to accommodate the larger weddings and not having a licensed wedding chapel for the wedding service. It is our intention to utilise the existing function suite to create a dramatic full height chapel, by removing the existing storage floor and creating a concealed staircase up to a small gallery, with a sweeping staircase discharging into the central area of the new chapel.

"In approaching the design of the proposed extension, we are going back to first principles – the original use of these buildings was a working farm – we are trying to incorporate this within our design. The client flow between the chapel, reception and function suite works perfect."

Comments on the proposals can be submitted at

The Northern Echo was unable to contact the new owner for comment.