Director Joe Ridgeon believes a farm experience centre and lodge park in County Durham is among proposed new developments driving a ‘buoyant’ regional leisure sector.

However, it’s the leisure schemes that are different that work best, contributing significantly towards securing final planning permission.

Hedley Planning Services, which is involved in several projects across the North of England, which will create dozens of new jobs, says that the impact of COVID-19 is seeing the rapid development of local tourism projects to meet surging demand for UK holidays.

Joe and his colleagues have been instructed to provide planning services on more than 10 possible North East and Yorkshire leisure developments, reflecting its burgeoning presence in the sector.

In a move that could see upwards of 150 new holiday lodges and cabins built in the next 12 months, its working with holiday and leisure operators to bring forward plans for new lets in Redcar, Cleveland, Hambleton, Beamish and Yorkshire among other locations.

The firm is also steering through plans for a new barn building near Consett along with up to 37 holiday lodges, many of which will accommodate families who have a family member with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The proposed schemes could generate in excess of £20 million worth of high-quality leisure-style accommodation regionwide, supporting upwards of 300 new jobs in the construction and associated supply chain.

“We are seeing a lot of activity as leisure sector operators push forward their plans to tap into the staycation market,” says Joe. “But it’s the projects that offer a new experience or all-round different holiday experience that will gain the most traction from a planning perspective.

“For example, Woodland Park Farm’sdevelopment will see disabled and disadvantaged youngsters have family holidays while enjoying a whole raft of new interactive experiences in a safe and secure environment.

“It’s clear that operators and developers across the leisure sector must have to think and act differently if they are to get their schemes off the ground. This requires long term strategic input, planning and vision to maximise success – and firms like ours can help with advice and ideas.”