A bid to have a construction compound outside a development site in the green belt around Ponteland has been given the go-ahead despite concerns.
The former Northumbria Police HQ site has planning permission for new housing; an outline application was approved in 2015 followed by two detailed schemes earlier this year for a total of 275 homes.
Bellway Homes now wants to put its construction compound just outside the site, on agricultural land in its ownership but in the green belt, for the first two years of development.
At a meeting on Monday, members of Castle Morpeth Local Area Council heard that different options had been explored, but it wasn’t possible to have it on-site initially, largely because of all the buildings which are yet to be demolished.
However, objector Deborah Crosby asked why the planning officer’s report said there were ‘very special circumstances’ to allow development in the green belt, but not to allow development on a Local Green Space.
“If they (the special circumstances) don’t exist then it should be refused,” she said. “If they do exist, it should still be rejected as an alternative location exists on the site.”
Marie Lodge, from Bellway, highlighted the mitigation measures to screen the compound from neighbouring residents, the nearest of whom are 75 metres from the proposed car park and 100 metres from the site office.
She added that refusing this application would add eight months or more to the build programme, which would be worse for nearby residents.
The chairman, Coun Scott Dickinson, said there was a reluctance from the committee in following the planning officer’s recommendation and called on the applicant to try to move the compound in under two years ‘and certainly no longer’.
The application was approved by four votes to one.