A centre near Appleby providing holidays in rural Eden for inner-city children has been given the nod for a £300,000 expansion plan.

Knowsley Enterprise Academy, based at Kirkby, Liverpool, provides outdoor adventure holidays for primary children at the former Ormside Station building.

The parish council objected and considered the plans not ‘in keeping’ with the area, while 15 letters of objection were lodged with Eden District Council.

At a meeting of its planning committee in Penrith on Thursday, councillors voted unanimously to back the officer’s recommendation to agree the plans.

Cllr John Thompson called it a ‘worthwhile and beneficial project,’ and Cllr Mike Eyles said the plans provided a ‘great improvement’ to the building.

Cllr Deborah Holden said the applicants had worked closely with the council  to get the right design.

“We have ended up with an absolutely fantastic design,” said Cllr Holden, the Liberal Democrat councillor for Penrith North.

The charity uses the former Station Building which used to be a stop on the Settle-to-Carlisle line.

It now plans to demolish a detached 1960s pre-fab annexe – used as a games room – to make way for a new two-storey extension to the existing building.

The pre-fab was ‘not fit for purpose’ and the permission means the charity can offer ‘enhanced facilities,’ councillors heard.

It will increase the centre’s capacity from 32 to 49-beds and also means people with disabilities can be welcomed to the site for the first time, the meeting was told.

Steve Dumbell ((CORRECT)), chief executive for applicants Phase 8 Development Company, said the centre had been run since 1960 with ‘no issues whatsoever’.

A total of 700 children-a-year benefited when they had ‘limited access’ top rural opportunities.

Its economic impact brought in  £120,000 for the Appleby and Eden area during the last 12 months, he told councillors.

No objectors spoke against the plans and of complaints about noise, Mr Dumbell said some of these may be ‘mistaken’ and from the nearby campsite.

He said the pre-fab shed had led to noise but it did not have noise insulation.

A planning officer’s report said the changes would ‘significantly reduce’ noise, particularly from arrivals and departures.

“The new building will have much better facilities and much better sound insulation and will preserve the heritage of the site,” said Mr Dumbell.

The applicants held two consultations and 45 people supported a previous larger expansion, although the charity had voluntarily agreed to reduce it, he said.

A conservation officer declared the changes ‘high-quality’ and said any negative impact was outweighed by ‘new opportunities for creating new memories at Ormside Station,’ the meeting heard.

Cllr Henry Sawrey-Cookson said it would provide a huge public benefit to allow children to visit a part of the world they might otherwise not get the chance to experience.