Site visit for housing bid

RESIDENTS opposing plans for new apartments in Ponteland are hopeful that planning permission will not be granted after councillors decided to go on a site visit.

The proposal for a five-storey block containing 18 flats on the western part of a site at Mill House off West Road received objections from 57 people and Ponteland Town Council.

The site was previously developed with the offices of Galliford Try, which have recently been demolished to make way for a scheme that will comprise of seven detached dwellings.

Northumberland County Council planning officers gave an approval recommendation for the apartments despite a range of concerns being raised.

But at a recent meeting, members of the west area planning committee decided that they needed to go and have a look around the site before making a decision.

According to the objectors, the proposed building is too large, with a scale, mass and height that will dominate the surrounding area and be out of proportion with the neighbouring small scale, traditionally built housing.

Officers say that given the change in levels and siting of the proposed apartments, it is not considered that the building would appear as a five-storey dwelling from West Road.

Those against the plans also say that the allocated number of car parking spaces (22) is insufficient and so there will be parking on West Road and residential streets, there are major problems with access to and from the site in bad weather and the development could increase the risk of flooding among other points.

Coun Lesley Noble, a member of Ponteland Town Council’s planning committee, said: “We’re very pleased that the county council committee is going to carry out a site visit, which we requested along with our objections.

“Hopefully, when its members see the site, they will recognise the difficulties that would arise with the lack of car parking, flooding issues and the proposed size and appearance of the building, which is not in keeping with other properties in the area.”

Meanwhile, revised plans to convert a mid-19th Century double-fronted residential property into a dental practice at Bell Villas were given conditional permission, subject to conditions being carried out, at the same meeting.

The initial bid was refused last summer. The removal of a significant portion of plinth wall and hedge along the frontage because of the need for two access points was deemed unacceptable.

The new proposal says that the access point will now be relocated, so the wall and hedgerow removed from the new access would be put back in place at the location of the current access point.