Residents and visitors of a popular coastal village have warmly welcomed a proposal to create the UK’s first ultra low emission Passivhaus hotel in a former coal mining area.

If approved by the North York Moor National Park Authority on Thursday, the proposal would see The Cliffemount Hotel overlooking Runswick Bay demolished and replaced by a property which could retain enough energy from the sun and activities of its occupants so that it requires very little additional heating or cooling.

The authority’s officers have stated the construction of such a development within the national park would help to address the cause of climate change and “would also set a positive precedent in relation to the achievability of such buildings”.

A spokeswoman for the Passivhaus Trust said while the internationally recognised standard has been established for decades Octopi Property’s proposal would be the country’s first such hotel.

Passivhaus refers to buildings created to rigorous energy efficient design standards so that they maintain an almost constant temperature

and are so well constructed, insulated and ventilated that they retain energy from inside and outside the building.

Planning documents submitted to the authority state the proposed three-storey 20-bedroom hotel beside the Cleveland Way trail would be about 20 times as airtight as a standard build and feature mechanical ventilation and a heat recovery system.

The development would also include a community pub and restaurant and sunken patios to serve the dining and bar areas overlooking the sea.

An agent for Octopi Property stated the proposed development would ensure that a highly efficient building supersedes the previous hotel, which has fallen into disrepair. He said the hotel would employ 15 full-time and 15 part-time staff.

He stated: “The intention is to deliver a new building that will contribute to the character of Runswick Bay whilst also supporting the local community, economically in terms of jobs and investment, as well as socially as a place to visit and meet. The current hotel does not present an efficient or viable layout and has proved unviable.”

A report to a meeting of the authority’s planning committee states such buildings use around 75 per cent less energy than standard practice for UK


The report states it is likely that the new hotel would increase visitors coming to the area, enhancing the vitality and viability of Runswick Bay and the surrounding area.

It adds the applicant undertook a thorough pre-application consultation exercise with the local community and no objections have been received in relation to the application.

Numerous residents and visitors to the village have backed the proposal, praising its environmental credentials and saying how it would benefit both the community and the tourist industry while being “a real bonus for the North York Moors National Park”.

One supporter wrote: “This area is still the jewel in the crown having won the Sunday Times Best Beach Award in 2021. It needs to retain its charm and by updating a badly designed old hotel and bringing in a new vibrant hotel would in no way interfere with the local beauty.”