Plans for a £15m hotel have run into opposition from fans of one of Britain's best-known athletics' events, the Great North Run.
Tavistock Leisure wants to build a 104-bedroom development on the seafront at South Shields, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
But the hotel will be situated on a grassed area called the Gypsies Green sports ground, which is currently the finishing point for the annual Great North Run half-marathon, which takes place today.
Campaigners claim it will cause problems for the event, as well as depriving local people of public land and blocking residents' sea views.
Tavistock claims its hotel will be part-buried with grassed roof that will not ruin residents' views.
Mark Hird, managing director of Tavistock managing director, said: "The fact that we have been chosen to lead this exciting development is testament to our commitment to the local community and our long-standing reputation for high quality work and excellent service."
The project expected to create 200 jobs has the backing of South Tyneside Council, although planning permission has still to be approved.
Tavistock also owns Roker hotel in Sunderland and the Highfield in Middlesbrough.
By Nigel Green
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