Plans submitted for falconry centre at 17th Century country hotel (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Proposal to move Barnard Castle falconry centre to Walworth Castle, near Darlington
PLANS for a falconry centre in the grounds of a country hotel dating back to the 17th Century have been submitted to planners.
David and Tori Toms, the owners of Northside Falconry, based in Barnard Castle, have been forced to look for a new site for their business due to the planned expansion of a quarry near their current facilities.
The couple have chosen the grounds of Walworth Castle Hotel, a grade one listed building on the outskirts of Darlington, as their new location and have entered a planning application for a change of use at the site to set up a falconry centre.
The application notes that the proposed centre would comprise two small wooden buildings and a wooden fence, designed with the help of English Heritage so they do not encroach on the castle or its walls.
Walworth Castle was built in the 1600s and has been open to the public as a hotel for many years – the Toms said they hope to work with the hotel’s existing client base and attract new customers to the site.
In a statement submitted to planning officials at Darlington Borough Council, the couple said: “None of the proposed buildings or fences will be attached to the existing wall; neither will there be any permanent structures or foundations.
“We feel the proposed centre will be a great addition to the castle and surrounding areas. Falconry dates back to medieval times and will complement the castle and keep it thriving for many years to come. We feel it would be an ideal asset to the existing businesses in the area without making a huge impact.
“We do not intend on becoming a large falconry centre.”
If approved the centre will host two 30 minute displays, six days a week, using a small number of birds.
There are also plans to provide nature walks and viewing areas and hides to watch native birds in the existing woodlands around the castle.
Planning officers have invited comments from neighbouring properties and will decide whether the application should go before a full planning committee at a later date.