Flats given green light

PLANS for two new blocks of flats in Ponteland were approved despite local concerns.

The change of use application by McKenzie Real Estates Ltd for the Belville House area in Bell Villas involves the demolition of a significant part of the building mass and restoration works will be carried out to the one built in the 19th century along with extensions to create 18 apartments (Block A).

A stand-alone new build set of 12 flats will be built to the rear of the site (Block B). There will be 34 parking spaces.

The former computer training establishment on the main A696 through the village has been empty for five years and previous plans to turn the offices into a boutique hotel were turned down.

There were 25 objections and Mr B Edlin spoke at a meeting of the west area planning committee, saying the density, height and layout would be unsuitable, it would create further traffic congestion and parking problems for all 226 houses in the locality and the building mass has a distinctive and pleasing appearance and the neglect should be put right rather than carrying out demolition works.

The applicant said there was sufficient parking provided and the scheme would help meet Ponteland’s overall housing needs.

In their report to the committee, planning officers recommended approval. They said although there are some parts of the proposal that are considered regrettable, such as the loss of the much altered pediment section, on balance, the development would be a positive addition to the conservation area in comparison to the buildings that currently exist on the site.

The committee approved the bid on a 5-0 vote.