Bid for two homes in green belt refused

Coun David Towns, ward member for Pegswood.
Coun David Towns, ward member for Pegswood.

A bid for two new homes in a Northumberland village has been thrown out, despite initial concerns over inconsistent green-belt policies.

The scheme, which was unanimously refused at Monday’s Castle Morpeth Local Area Council, was for a pair of one-and-a-half-storey houses on land to the rear of Lynebank, in Ulgham.

It had been recommended for refusal by planning officers as the site is both in the green belt and outside the settlement boundary.

The applicant’s agent claimed that the proposal would represent infill development and therefore be an exception to the general policy of green-belt constraint.

The meeting heard that a similar scheme in 2016 had been refused and then rejected on appeal in June 2017, but Fraser McKenna, from Strutt and Parker, pointed out that since then, homes had been built on the adjacent land behind Branstone, meaning the site is surrounded by development on three sides.

However, councillors were told that the development to the west is only storage sheds.

Coun David Towns, the area’s ward councillor, called for this application to come to committee as he was concerned over potential inconsistent decision-making over infill in the green belt.

He asked about the situation with Branstone and also an application in Medburn which went before councillors several months ago.

Liz Sinnamon, from the council’s planning department, said: “The application in Medburn was in the green belt, but also within the settlement boundary, so it was considered infill while this is not.

“A reasonable test is that properties should have roadside frontage and this doesn’t have that.”

She mentioned the High Court appeal judgement, which was outlined in the officer’s report, that made this point in relation to a refused house at Tranwell Woods.

Coun Towns was satisfied with the explanation, adding that he thought it was important for this to be explained in a public meeting.

Coun Richard Wearmouth said: “It seems a very logical place to build a house, but I’m happy to support the officers’ advice.”

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service