An unfitting landscape comparison?

Considering the landscapes of Loansdean and Stobhill is like comparing ‘apples with pears’, an expert has said.

Consultant Thomas Walker made the distinction to justify county council objection to plans for 396 houses at Stobhill on landscape impact grounds when it was not considered sufficiently important to block development at Loansdean.

He said: “This appeal site is larger and it is far more open therefore I don’t think you can talk about the sites being the same. I think that the self-contained nature of the Loansdean site makes the impact values far less.”

Mr Walker was called on behalf of Northumberland County Council,. He said that building on the site would conflict with national and regional planning policy, detract from a “highly valued and valuable” gateway to Morpeth, and reduce the space between Morpeth and Hepscott by 30 per cent.

“I consider that the development would represent a substantial, permanent and irreversible urban intrusion into the open countryside and also to the setting of Morpeth,” he said.

Chartered landscape architect Jeremy Smith, for the appellant, said there would be major visual impact for some residents in Choppington Road and at certain points on footpaths and roads.

However, he added: “The significant adverse views are extremely localised and the effects on the wider countryside are low or negligible. Therefore, I believe they would not prejudice the overall landscape character.”