RESIDENTS of Hunstanworth and the surrounding area have opposed plans by Northumbrian Water to turn an historic pumping station into a five-bedroom house and three surrounding new-builds.

The development of three new houses and a change of use of the pumping station at Hunstanworth to a house will also be visible from the settlements of Ramshaw and Townfield.

Alan Noble,who lives at at nearby Bale Hill farmhouse, said: “Our property has direct view across open moorland to the pumping station. Whilst 800 yards away from the pumping station site, we are the closest property to the proposed site to the North.

He added: “We are sure speculative developers will want to use any consent to leverage development opportunities in the High Moor. This has the potential to open the flood gates and destroy this very special natural environment.”

In a response to the proposal, Hunstanworth Parish Council said: “Whilst we support the renovation of the pumping station and conversion to a residential dwelling, we don’t support the development of three houses.

“The proposed conversion would make the pumping station unrecognisable and result in a loss of its history and heritage past.”

A statement from Northumbrian Water read: “The proposals draw upon the industrial heritage and landscape character of the area to revitalise the redundant rural site. Ecological enhancements to support wildlife in the local area have been included. The application follows a lengthy period of consultation with the council and consideration of alternative uses for the site and the proposals are to be decided.”