Housing bid in green belt is turned down

Land west of Whitegates in Longhorsley. Picture by Jane Coltman.
Land west of Whitegates in Longhorsley. Picture by Jane Coltman.

Another housing bid in a village which felt ‘under siege’ from developers has been thrown out by councillors.

The outline application, for around 33 new properties, including some affordable homes, on land west of Whitegates in Longhorsley, was unanimously rejected at Tuesday’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee.

It had been recommended for refusal due to the site being in the green belt; ‘no special circumstances have been demonstrated and it would therefore be inappropriate development’.

It would also ‘represent non-essential and unjustified development in the open countryside outside of the defined settlement boundary’.

The scheme had sparked 88 letters of objection from residents and was also opposed by Longhorsley Parish Council and the county council’s rights of way officer as the development would obstruct a public footpath.

Resident Denise Primrose spoke against the plans, citing the strength of feeling in the village, development in the green belt, the fact it would affect the openness of the countryside and flooding and drainage issues.

Local member, Coun Glen Sanderson, said: “Over the last 12 months, Longhorsley – which is a village of 300 homes – has been subject to planning permissions which will see the village increased by about 100.

“It’s still not apparent how those homes and residents will be accommodated by the school and the settlement.”

David Pollard, from applicants Enviro Property Partners Ltd, referred to two other schemes which had been approved in the village – in June, Partner Investments Ltd was given outline approval for up to 55 dwellings on land south-east of the Shoulder of Mutton pub, while Cussins Ltd was given for the erection of 25 homes on a site north of Reivers Gate.

Mr Pollard said: “I do believe if ours had gone in with the other ones, it would have been the more desirable site.”

He added that he received pre-application advice from the council’s planning department in April that had been fairly positive, but the county council’s core strategy is now at a more advanced stage.