A former care home and hotel is set to be redeveloped as part of plans to expand a Darlington caravan park. 

Newbus Grange Country Park, near Hurworth, has applied to convert the Grade II listed building into offices and apartments and create an extra 70 caravan lodges. The site is currently home to the Maguires Country Lodge Park, which is populated by more than 150 caravans/lodges. 

The existing building is said to be in a state of disrepair and the new plans have been submitted in a bid to protect and preserve the historic significance of the property, the applicant said. 

A planning report added: “Newbus Grange has suffered some damage to the internal fabric given its role as a care home and before that a hotel. [It] has stood empty for a number of years and has suffered from numerous roof leaks which are causing damage to the building’s fabric. 

“If the property is not brought back into viable use it is plausible that the building could fall into disrepair, potentially losing the historical significance of the building forever.”

The Northern Echo: The caravan park is currently populated by more than 150 pitchesThe caravan park is currently populated by more than 150 pitches (Image: The Northern Echo)

The existing country park is set to be extended into the northern field. A new access road from Neasham Road would also be created and a new car park is also planned for in front of the Newbus Grange building.

The proposal also details how the ground floor of the building would be repurposed to create office spaces for the staff of Maguires County Parks and also offer lounge facilities for residents who are staying at the time. The first and second floor would be converted into private apartments with their own private entrance.

The planning application has been submitted on behalf of Darlington-based company Cotterhill Limited. 

A statement from the applicant added: “With the Grange already housing a Maguires Country Park within its surrounding land it makes perfect sense for the listed building to be converted into their head offices. 

“The building will also be open for use from the visitors to the caravan park to enjoy coffee mornings and functions within its impressive lounge facilities. 

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“The listed building is currently sitting empty and is in danger of losing further historical features as water ingress is currently causing serious damage to the gothic timber windows and fibrous ceilings.”

The proposed works are also set to protect the future of the building, the applicant added. 

“Our proposed alterations will prevent any further loss or damage to the significant areas of the property and will ensure its preservation for future generations to enjoy.”

Formerly known as Cygnet Newbus Grange, the facility provided care for those with learning disabilities and autism but was deemed inadequate by the Care Quality Commission in 2019. 

The planning application is due to be considered later this year.