Concern over plans for hotel

PLANS have been submitted for a new hotel on the edge of Ponteland.

Although the applicant Andrew Singh believes the 46-bedroom facility at Street Houses, near the Badger pub and restaurant and Dobbies Garden World, would not be intrusive and harm local residents’ visual amenity, more than 25 objections have already been lodged with Northumberland County Council.

If approved, the two vacant two-storey semi-detached buildings would be demolished and replaced with a three-storey building.

Planning permission was granted by Castle Morpeth Council in 2006 for a change of use from dwellings to bed and breakfast accommodation, but some of those against the bid say there is no evidence that this was implemented.

There would be parking spaces for 40 cars, three of which would be for disabled drivers, two motorbike bays and up to ten spaces for cycles.

Some residents have put forward objections and one of the main reasons is that the site is in the Greenbelt between Ponteland and villages in the north of Newcastle.

They say it does not meet the criteria for allowing development in this area and the larger size of buildings, loss of gardens, increase in traffic movements and resultant commercial activities would cause permanent harm.

Other opinions raised include the three-storey size being incompatible with its surroundings, particularly The Badger, which retained the style of the Street Houses farm, and the number of parking spaces being insufficient at times to accommodate guests and staff.

Agent for the applicant Nigel Picken says in the design and access statement: “The proposed development will not be detrimental to the visual amenity of the area as the site is relatively isolated alongside a major road.

“The only developments near the site are the semi-industrial buildings to the west.”

At a recent meeting of Ponteland Town Council, resident Muriel Sobo wanted to know why the authority’s planning and transport committee had not objected.

In response, Ponteland Mayor Peter Cowey said: “Looking at the plans, the view by all present was that the hotel would be good for local businesses and good for employment in Ponteland.

“However, it was felt that the spaces for car parking could cause a problem for the area round and about the hotel.

“It was after the meeting that it was noticed that part of the planning application was on the Greenbelt. However, it is not normal practice to alter decisions after meetings.”