THE owners of the luxury Raithwaite Hall Hotel have upset their neighbours with plans to dramatically extend the development.
Planning applications have been submitted by the Skelwith Group which would see 69 self-catering contemporary and traditional holiday lodges (see computer generated image above) built – some of which will be four bedrooms and two storeys.
They will be set within the woodland on the 80 acre site between Whitby and Sandsend and plans also include a woodland educational and conference centre.
It is in addition to the 43-bed hotel which opened last autumn, six existing holiday cottages, a further four under construction, three cottages at the entrance to the estate, four more cottages where the Old Woodcutter’s Cottage was and a 28-bedroom annexe called The Keep which is being built now and set to be finished in December.
The firm says the proposals “are in response to a genuine demand for additional luxury accommodation in the area”
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but the move has angered local residents.
The Gazette has been contacted by concerned neighbours and letters of objection have been submitted to Scarborough Borough Council (SBC).
RI and BJ Little of Echo Hill at Sleights said: “The 69 lodges are described as a peaceful retreat. If the complex is operating on full capacity the minimum number of cars would be 160, if each hotel room sleeps two and the cottages take two to four, the minimum number of visitors would be 416 - definitely not peaceful and over developed.”
They also expressed concerns about the felling of mature trees, the visual impact as the development will be seen from Whitby, Sandsend and Lythe and the extra traffic that will be created on the busy Whitby to Sandsend Road.
These were echoed by one neighbour who didn’t want to be named who added: “We feel they are effectively creating a village larger than some in the surrounding areas, destroying the natural habitat of the woodland creatures plus ruining a National Park footpath and blighting the countryside.
“Visitors come to this area because they enjoy the uniqueness and Heritage of Whitby, Sandsend and surrounding areas, to over commercialise may drive them away,”
But Raithwaite bosses say the development will increase local jobs with over 70 people being employed during peak times, use cutting edge green technology and open up the estate with extra paths and nature trails.
On behalf of the Skelwith Group, Ben Pilgrim told the Gazette: “Following the success of the main hotel this further investment heralds a commitment to the local area and economy.
“If the plans are approved they will create more than 80 jobs at all levels and will have a tremendously positive knock-on effect with our local suppliers and partners. As with the main hotel we are committed to using local people and businesses, where possible.
“The new cottages will encourage more people to stay in the area for longer and provide a boost to other attractions and the hospitality sector more broadly.
“We have been very careful these cottages will enhance the stunning setting of the whole Raithwaite Estate and will be built to the highest quality.
“Our consultations to date have been very well received with many people seeing the benefits that these plans will bring.