Planning permission has been granted for a major hotel and holiday village near Barnstaple. North Devon Councils planning committee has approved plans by Habitat First Group to build the 40-bed hotel and 158 cabins on the former Venn Quarry site. Habitat says the 63-hectare site is also expected to generate £3.9million a year for the local economy and create more than 100 jobs. The new site is to be called Birchwood Lakes and the former quarry, which ceased operation in 2006, will also be restored into a nature reserve. The group has created similar developments at two other UK projects based in the Cotswolds and Dorset, both of which are former quarries. Director Red Paxton, one of the family members that own Habitat First Group, said: We are pleased to receive the approval from councillors at North Devon Council. We plan to create a truly unique offering to guests and locals in North Devon, providing high quality and sustainable holiday properties with outstanding facilities. We will continue to work closely with local councils and communities to ensure Birchwood Lakes is a successful site that tourists and residents can enjoy together. We will create a thriving habitat for local wildlife and will provide leisure facilities designed for all ages to enjoy. In addition to facilities created for guests including swimming pools and a spa, the site will also be open for locals. New footpaths through the reserve with opportunities for watching wildlife and a heritage trail will be accessible to locals via the Tarka Trail, whilst a café will provide refreshments for locals passing by. Habitat First Group said it will conduct regular species surveys at Birchwood Lakes to identify areas of ecological importance and create habitats for wildlife.