A GLAMPING site boss says an alcohol licence will enable her to enhance the experience of visitors to the 'tranquil retreat' she has created.

Sue Brierley gave up a corporate job to open Gables Pod Camping, in Escomb, near Bishop Auckland, in May 2018 after surviving cancer.

She has now secured a licence to sell drinks up to 11pm, seven days a week.

She said: "This is not a party site, we won't have a bar stocked like a pub.

"This is about enhancing visitors' experience here, we're all about the peaceful countryside, a tranquil retreat and that's still the case."

The Northern Echo:

A meeting of Durham County Council’s statutory licensing sub-committee, held by videolink and broadcast via YouTube last Thursday, heard there had been objections to the application.

The licence application for the glamping site, at Three Lane Ends, had previously revised an original request to allow music and performances up to midnight, suggesting a stop time of 11pm instead.

Concessions saw most objectors withdraw their objections but Christine Barratt-Atkin, who runs the nearby Riding School for Special People, told the committee she still had concerns.

She said noise from the site had disturbed her son and animals on her farm.

She added: “We acknowledge 2019 was a lot better in terms of disruption than the previous year.

“But we want to be reassured that we will continue to live peacefully without having people making a lot of noise from consuming alcohol or playing music outside on a summer evening.

“I think a compromise of 9pm would be better for everyone all round.”

The Northern Echo:

Mrs Brierley told the committee: "We won’t be selling alcohol to anyone walking past who aren’t resident guests.

“[Currently] there’s nothing to stop wedding guests turning up with a load of alcohol, but if I have a licence I can say no – by having a licence I can control the flow of alcohol.”

She added: “We’re a quiet family, we don’t go to festivals, so we wouldn’t want anything like that on the campsite ourselves.

“We don’t want stress, if I wanted stress I would have stayed in a corporate job.”

Panel chairman Councillor Pauline Crathorne closed the meeting so she and fellow committee members Liz Brown and Joyce Maitland could make a decision.

The licence was subsequently granted with hours for both alcohol and activities finishing at 11pm.

Mrs Brierley told The Northern Echo: "This just means I will be able to serve a glass of fizz with afternoon tea, put a bottle and some food in a pod if guests request it for a birthday or anniversary even if they're arriving late.

"If we hold a wedding it is an intimate occasion, with about 30 guests, that end around 9pm.

"95 per cent of our guests comment how peaceful it is and I'm proud of that.

"So much so I put a day aside each month as a cancer retreat to help patients and couples people by cancer to use it for free."