The trouble began when a consortium of businessmen and women put forward plans to convert a Victorian house in the village of Corbridge, a popular spot for visitors to Hadrian's Wall, into a hotel and restaurant.
The proposal suggested that Lauder Grange, an imposing detached property with a castellated entrance turret and views over the Tyne Valley, be converted from residential premises into an eight-room hotel and a restaurant sitting 60 people. Plans for a marquee erected on the lawns have since been dropped.
The application provoked a flurry of objections, including some from Mr Barratt, to drop through the letterbox of the district council, listing concerns about noise, floodlighting, an increased numbers of cars and impact on the green belt.
Because of objections from Mr Barratt, as well as other local residents, the planning application, initially recommended by planning officers at Tynedale District Council, has been deferred so that councillors can make a visit to the site.
Lauder Grange is owned by Roy Allen, who sold the adjacent property, Ravenstone, to Mr Barratt in 1995 for around pounds 450,000. Mr Allen is not involved in the proposed development, which has been put forward by a consortium called The Wedding House.
A spokesman for The Wedding House insisted that the objections were unfounded. "The council's officers were happy enough to recommend the plan be approved. It is hugely ironic," she said.
"This smacks of Nimbyism.Lauder Grange stands in its own substantial grounds as does Ravenstone and there is a wood between the two."
Mr Barratt is understood to have objected to the proposal because, he says, it will impinge upon green belt. He said recently: "A country hotel can sit quite nicely in a green belt area if it is remote and has no immediate neighbours, but that's not what's proposed here at all."
The council rejects any suggestion that it has bowed to pressure from the Barratt family. "Peter Barratt is just one of a number of objectors," said Helen Winter, acting director of planning at Tynedale District Council, based in Hexham.
Mr Barratt, who runs a gardening centre in Newcastle and has no business connection with the Barratt Home dynasty, was unavailable for comment.
Cathy Tyler, who lives a few hundred yards from Lauder Grange, said: "In the past 20 years we have had a lot of inappropriate development here. It's a very quick 22 miles from Newcastle and people want to come and live here. The development would further commercialise the area."Reuse content