AN APPLICATION to convert the former Fountain Cottage Cafe and Tea Rooms in Bellingham into a bed and breakfast has been submitted to the the county council.

The planning application submitted by Altoria Development outlines the conversion of the former offices on the first floor, which are no longer in use, into five bed and breakfast bedrooms and one bedroom on the ground floor.

No additional building would be required in order to convert the building.

The Northumberland County Council-owned premises were previously used by Jo Heslop who ran the Fountain Cottage Cafe and Tea Room for seven and a half years.

Tony Carter from Altoria Development said: “A proportion of the ground floor plans are dedicated to the cafe service which will remain in the building.

“We wouldn’t want to lose that service that has done so well in the town.

“Overall we hope the proposed B&B accommodation will encourage tourism in the local area and increase visitors.”

Northumberland County Council’s tourism development department said it had no current objection to the application, as long as it met all statutory planning conditions and was broadly acceptable to the local community.

However, the department added that the plans did not show an allowance for onsite, live-in accommodation for an owner or manager.

“This raises questions about the practical and effective management of the accommodation premises, particularly outside of tea room opening hours.

“We therefore ask that clarity and confirmation of the operation is provided in this regard.”