Appeal over house plan is dismissed

UNPOPULAR housing plans for a Morpeth gateway have been thrown out by a Planning Inspector.

An application to build a three-storey, three-bedroom home at the entrance to Dene View, off the A192, was rejected by Northumberland County Council in November by six votes to one.

However, despite residents submitting a 200-name petition against the bid, architect John Hare, who designed the scheme, took the decision to appeal.

Now Planning Inspector David Cullingford has dismissed it, saying the development would spoil the street scene and reduce neighbours’ privacy.

He said: “Although I read that a five-year supply of affordable housing land cannot be demonstrated, the harmful effects of this scheme would not warrant the limited contribution of one additional dwelling to the potential provision for housing.

“I agree that the site does not lie within the Conservation Area, but the advice in the Framework to reflect local character and identity and to add to the overall quality of an area is not confined to such places.

“I fail to see how a site that has not accommodated buildings for almost two decades and has served as a swathe of green roadside embankment for much of that time could accurately be described as a ‘brownfield’ plot.

“Hence, and in spite of considering all the other matters raised, I find nothing sufficiently compelling to alter my conclusion that this scheme would spoil the street scene and impair the prospect and privacy that neighbouring residents might reasonably expect to enjoy.”

Mr Cullingford made reference to the ‘verdant and sylvan slopes’ of nearby Pottery Bank heralding the approach of open countryside, and said he could not agree with the county’s planning officer that the proposed building would be set back into the bank and appear subordinate to others nearby, saying instead it would be very close to the pavement, obliterate a portion of the bank and stand in a prominent roadside position.

The Inspector added that the height and design would emphasise its dominant presence and the building would not echo the character of the area. He was also concerned about the distance from existing properties.

Pottery Bank resident Maureen Davison, who organised the petition against the plans, said: “We objectors are very pleased and relieved that the Planning Inspector has upheld last November’s planning committee 6-1 rejection of the Low Wood application in dismissing Mr Hare’s appeal.

“We were particularly delighted that the Inspector shared not only our opinion that this application was of the wrong type in the wrong place, but also that the green aspect of Pottery Bank is a valuable characteristic of the area, worthy or preservation.

“We hope this will be taken into account during the formulation of the Neighbourhood Plan so it will be protected and preserved, not just for us, but for future generations of the town.”

Mrs Davison thanked Morpeth Town Council and Morpeth Civic Society for their support in opposing the development.