THE owner of new luxury accommodation in Cockermouth has responded to residents' concerns about staycationers' cars blocking a walkway.

But as for complaints about the holidaymakers at the town's most expensive accommodation using the nearby historic church grounds to relax in, he said: "In terms of sunbathing with the dead I think its fantastic, it gives the dead visitors and company."

The listed Saints Room, off Kirkgate, has been turned into luxurious holiday accommodation for 18 people and opened last month. A weekend stay will cost up to £1,800 a night.

The building was bought at auction by property developer Jerry Huppert, of Manchester, and his business partner, for £158,000 for it in 2018. It was previously owned by nearby All Saints’ Church, which sold the building to raise vital funds.

Mr Huppert said more than £1million was spent transforming the building. He has enjoyed welcoming guests to the fabulous venue which has gained rave reviews. But some residents are less keen.

Guests have been parking on the footpath, blocking access for anyone with a pushchair or wheelchair, and leaving overflowing bins, they say.

There have also been complaints about people relaxing on sun loungers in the graveyard.

Mr Huppert said: "Every business has teething issues when it starts to operate / trade.

"We have now ordered signs to advise our guests not to block the went and will limit parking on site to the amount of cars that fit on our private land.

"We are monitoring [the rubbish] and will add additional weekly pick ups if required.

"In terms of sunbathing with the dead, I think it's fantastic. It gives the dead visitors and company."

Fred Moore has complained to Allerdale Council about the parking situation. "There is a conflict of cars using the footpath while church goers, wedding and funeral attendees are standing outside church," he said. "It's absolutely atrocious, the church went has never been used in the past for vehicles.

"Another time some of them had moved the garden furniture into the cemetery and were lying on couches. I asked them to move because it was totally disrespectful."

Rev Canon Jane Charman, the team rector for the Cockermouth Area Team, said: "All Saints Room is a new business venture in Cockermouth and we wish it well.

"Because it is set in a residential area and next to the historic and much loved All Saints Church it’s important that visitors staying in the Room are made aware of local parking restrictions and waste and recycling arrangements and are respectful of the adjacent churchyard as ‘holy ground’.

"The District Church Council and the Town Council are aware of some teething problems which we are working together to resolve."