Controversial plan for bungalow given the green light

A bid for a single detached bungalow in the garden of a Hepscott cottage has been approved, despite concerns over flooding and the settlement boundary.

The property, earmarked for land south-east of Roseden Cottage, was unanimously approved at Tuesday’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s planning and rights of way committee.

The application appeared before members in December when it was agreed to go on a site visit and to allow time for drainage investigations to take place. Before the bungalow can be occupied, work will take place to improve the drainage system in the area, expanding the existing pipe from 100mm to 150mm in diameter.

Fred Dye, speaking on behalf of residents, said that the flooding issues dated back to 1967 and it’s ‘inconceivable that it has been endured for so long without a solution’. He added: “A wrong decision was made in 1967 and it seems that history is about to repeat itself.”

Coun Philip Ashmore, chairman of Hepscott Parish Council, said: “This application is a test of the importance of the Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan, which in 14 days goes to referendum.

“This application is simply against the policies of the neighbourhood plan.”

He pointed out that the committee turned down a series of applications in October for being outside the settlement boundary and it would be ‘totally inconsistent’ to do differently in this case.

However, planning officer Kate Blyth said that while the site is outside the boundary, it is within the ‘village envelope’, inside the railway line, and therefore represents limited infill in a village – acceptable under the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework).

Coun Ian Swithenbank said: “If we were drawing that settlement boundary now, it clearly would be the railway line. Given that, this application is acceptable with conditions.”

Coun John Riddle added that this case ‘clearly demonstrated the value of a site visit’ as it made the settlement boundary issue obvious.

“The flooding issues are unfortunate but are not the making of this development,” he added.