DESPITE concerns it might blight the countryside, a modern holiday lodge placed on stilts has been approved in a bid to boost tourism in the Allen Valleys.

Members of Tynedale Local Area Council went against recommendations from planning officers at Northumberland County Council to grant permission for the construction of the two-bedroom holiday lodge at the Peth, in Allendale.

Planning officials raised a number of concerns about the application, particularly the impact it would have on the area which is situated in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

However, applicant Andrew Docchar said that, despite its modern look, the lodge would be designed to complement the surrounding countryside.

Speaking at the local area meeting, he said: “There will be a mix of trees and shrubs to screen the lodge, and it will enhance the scenery and encourage wildlife and birds.

“When the AONB said it wouldn’t suit the surrounding properties originally, I was in constant contact with them and redesigned it accordingly.

“Allendale is in need of a variety of holiday accommodation for the increase in visitors to the area. This lodge not only meets the needs of the local economy, but is also creative and enhances unused land.”

Mr Docchar’s application attracted 10 letters of support, with Allendale Parish Council firmly behind the application.

Council chairman David Crellin said the village relied on tourism and a range of accommodation was sorely sought.

Colin Horncastle, Northumberland county councillor for South Tynedale, praised Mr Docchar for his willingness to work with the community to tweak his designs to suit the local area.