Holidays at Hannah’s may soon be on offer

DALE WAYS: The late Hannah Hauxwell

BARNS at the former home of the late TV celebrity Hannah Hauxwell could be turned into accommodation for tourists.
Michelle Clough has submitted two separate applications to Durham County Council to renovate the buildings at Low Birk Hatt Farm, in Baldersdale, to create a three-bedroomed house and a one-bedroomed cottage, both for holiday accommodation.
The property, which sits above Blackton Reservoir in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Beauty, was made famous in the 1970s after a TV series told the story of Hannah Hauxwell who was living remotely without running water or electricity.
The first application is to
convert a two-storey stone barn adjacent to Hannah’s Meadow, a species-rich hay meadow dedicated to Miss Hauxwell who worked the farm using traditional methods. In a planning statement Alex Franklin, of Hedley Planning Services, said there would only be minor alterations including a new roof window opening.
He added: “Externally the building materials or footprint will not change. Parking facilities are to be on the northern edge of the barn. Hot tub facilities are proposed to the rear of the property and will be appropriately screened from the surroundings.”
A second application seeks to convert another two-storey field barn, adjacent to the Pennine Way and north of Low Birk Hatt farmhouse, into holiday accommodation.
Mr Franklin added: “The proposal forms part of three applications at Low Birk Hatt to deliver visitor accommodation along the Pennine Way and especially within the North Pennines AONB and Durham Dales.”
Pre-application advice was sought from the council two years ago about the conversion of the building into a camping barn. Mr Franklin added: “The proposal seeks to create visitor accommodation along the Pennine Way and establish a rural business.
“The proposed site is situated directly along the Pennine Way, yet there are very few options for overnight accommodation within the
immediate and surrounding vicinity. There is, therefore, an established need for visitor accommodation of this type within Baldersdale – a need exacerbated by the impacts of coronavirus.”
Mr Franklin added: “It is expected that the presence of private vehicles on-site will be low. An associated parking area has been designed into the scheme and proposes the use of grasscrete to reduce the visual impact upon the immediate setting.
“As many guests will arrive on foot as they walk along the Pennine Way, this further reduces the need of large parking spaces and thus reduces the visual impact upon the immediate landscape setting and potential impact upon the local highway network.”
The proposal has won the support of Visit County Durham, which says there is a need for more holiday accommodation in the area.
Craig Wilson, destinations projects manager for Visit County Durham, said: “We would like to support the developer’s ambition and this helps us to build our overnight visitor accommodation capacity, which still lags behind our near neighbouring destinations of Cumbria and Northumberland.”