Residents are “disturbed” by bachelor and bachelorette parties at Haswell Airbnb.

Visitors have been using an Airbnb/holiday rental service at Highfield House in Haswell – a former nursing home that closed in 2016.

It is understood the property was used as a family home by the applicant, Tina Robinson, but was more recently occupied under the name ‘Lucan Lodge’, which was marketed to large groups visiting the area.

A current enforcement case involving an unauthorized change of use of the property into self-contained residential units is the subject of an investigation.

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But now Ms Robinson has applied to convert the property into two separate houses after residents complained about noise.

In a written statement, Ms Robinson told Durham County Council’s planning team: “The only issues I have are with guests not following the house rules and neighbors complaining about the noise instead of calling me to have it in Germ can suffocate, which I can’t do.” Hear noise from my attached property. I have now decided to close my business.”

“In order for me to remain on my property, I have decided to apply for residential planning permission to separate Lucan Lodge and Highfield House and create a three or four bedroom bungalow with a shared driveway, creating one additional property rather than two, as stated.

“My intention is to use the money raised from the sale of Lucan Lodge to modernize Highfield House, continue to live on the estate, be an active member of Haswell and support local businesses as I always have have.”

However, local county councilor Chris Hood warned that the business is still being advertised online but is not currently taking bookings.

He said: “The house is still available online on many of the country’s leading booking sites. In the applicant’s own words, the accommodation is “perfect for group outings and hen parties”.

Speaking on behalf of 35 local residents, Shelly Bright fears the plans will lead to an expansion of the holiday rental business.

In an emotional speech to the committee, she said: “We have not been able to enjoy our properties in peace since 2019. We would be very grateful if the applicant’s proposal to divide the property in two and use it as two apartments were put into action.”

“It would certainly solve the disruption problem, but we think this is highly unlikely without restrictions being put in place.”

“Business is still going strong and this weekend people stood outside Lucan Lodge with loud voices and swearing. This lasted until midnight and disturbed residents.”

Cllr Hood encouraged Ms Robinson to resubmit the application, which prioritizes residential properties over commercial properties.

“Both the residents and I would be very happy if the property were developed into two residential buildings. Although the report uses the word residential 16 times, it also states: “It remains the case that any apartment can be occupied as a short-term holiday let without the need for planning permission.”

“These plans allow the owner to continue to operate a vacation rental business.”

Ms Bright urged the committee to put residents’ concerns at the forefront and urged it to consider implementing rules for Ms Robinson to follow.

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“This entire application depends on the goodwill and honesty of the applicant who still has his unauthorized vacation rental business in full operation,” she added. “Once this plan is adopted the applicant can do whatever they want in terms of expanding their business and if that is the case the disruption will unfortunately increase.”

Ms Robinson did not attend the planning meeting to address the concerns.

Committee members approved the application but added a strict condition that the property must not be used for short-term holiday lets or rentals. Residents are “disturbed” by bachelor and bachelorette parties at Haswell Airbnb.

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