Hotel bid for town outskirts rejected

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

The application by Andrew Singh for a 46-bedroom facility at Street Houses, near the Badger pub and restaurant and Dobbies Garden World, would have involved demolishing the two vacant two-storey semi-detached buildings and replacing them with a three-storey building.

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

A total of 41 residents submitted objections to Northumberland County Council. One of the main reasons why they were unhappy is that the site is in the greenbelt between Ponteland and villages in the north of Newcastle.

Other issues raised included a belief that the proposed hotel does not meet the criteria for allowing development in this area and the larger size of building, loss of gardens, increase in traffic movements and resultant commercial activities causing permanent harm.

Objections were also made by the authority’s highways and public protection sections as well as Newcastle International Airport on the grounds of oversupply and overdevelopment.

Northumbrian Water said insufficient information had been supplied with regards to the disposal of foul and surface water and the county ecologist said an extended habitat survey was required to check for the presence of protected species.

And now the county council has refused the bid under delegated powers.

In a report, planning officers say: “It is considered that the proposed hotel would constitute inappropriate development in the greenbelt.

“It would not fall within any of the categories of development that may be permitted within the greenbelt, it would represent a replacement building that would not be within the same use and would be significantly larger than the existing dwellings on the site.

“There are no ‘very special circumstances’ that would outweigh this policy conflict.

“The design of the proposed development would result in a large three-storey building being built close to the boundary of the site which, together with the removal of trees, would result in an incongruous feature highly visible from the roadside in a rural setting, therefore having a detrimental impact on the visual amenity of the site.

“The application does not incorporate adequate on-site vehicular parking and manoeuvring facilities to the standard required by the local planning authority.

“The proposal would therefore be likely to lead to an undesirable increase in on-street parking to the detriment of highway safety.

“It would also result in the unacceptable loss of trees covered by a Tree Preservation Order and the proposed works could have an impact on the crown and root systems of the trees.”

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 said there is no evidence that this was implemented.