Daring dad-of-three is selling his home to set up a vacation development on the site of a kennel

It’s a bold move, but father-of-three Rob Henderson is sure it will pay off in the long run.

The 43-year-old took a brave leap of faith and sold everything he owned to start a new business – a holiday lodge and campsite in Kirkleatham Village near Redcar. The wheels are already in motion with planning permission granted and work underway for its first vacation rental.

The Cartshed Cottage is located on the site of The Old Saw Mill, where Rob’s mother runs a kennel and cattery. A former kennel will become a two-story cottage with two bedrooms, a large kitchen and bathroom, an outdoor bar and a hot tub. The aim is to complete it by June, just in time for summer vacationers.

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Nestled in the historic woodland village on the outskirts of Redcar, The Old Saw Mill is situated next to the 9th century Church of St Cuthbert. Rob also offers spa facilities for those visiting the scenic spot and has other ambitious plans for expansion in the future.

To allow him to inject enough money into the project, the designer sold his house. He is confident it will be a hit and a great place to stay for the thousands of people who visit local events such as the Festival of Thrift and the Scream Factory each year.

The Old Sawmill Kennels and Cattery where Rob Henderson is building a vacation rental

“I literally sold everything I owned, including my house, to do this,” he told Teesside Live. “We have already made a few reservations with gift vouchers and have set up a website and a Facebook page.

“The plan is to have a campsite with facilities that will hopefully be completed this year, if not next year.” And depending on demand, he said they could consider lodges on site with electric vehicle charging stations.

Rob said there was a clear “buzz” about Redcar and the surrounding areas and he believes it is a destination with a promising future. “We are confident that Redcar and Kirkleatham are thriving and investing in the area, as are many others at this time,” he said.

Rob’s business would complement the council’s new five-year “destination management” plan to increase visitor numbers to Redcar and Cleveland. The strategy said growth markets included stays and places for people who wanted to “get away to nature and enjoy a range of mind-body experiences such as wild swimming, hiking, biking, yoga and spas”.

In March plans were approved for a seafront regeneration program at Coatham, Redcar. The improvement would include an adventure golf course, outdoor playground, picnic lawn and open public space on land on the north side of Majuba Road.

Councilors last year approved a 42-bed hotel with a family restaurant, outdoor terrace and associated parking on Coatham seafront, another part of the regeneration scheme.

As reported in February, the council said tourism was important in the borough but was “often left behind and neglected” by strong competition from neighboring areas of North Yorkshire.

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