New homes plan refused

PLANS to build up to 15 new homes in a village to the south of Morpeth have been tnrown out, despite support for the scheme.

Applicant Mr L Welch had applied for outline permission to redevelop a site to the south of Stannington Station Road to provide up to 15 residential properties.

But at last Thursday’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s North Area Planning Committee, members unanimously refused the application in keeping with the planning officer’s recommendation, as it would ‘represent unnecessary and unjustified development in the open countryside’.

At the meeting, members heard that the applicant had made an offer of 20 per cent affordable housing, but they were concerned that there were no details.

While the application was for up to 15 homes, an indicative plan showed 11 properties on the site.

Agent Richard Garland, on behalf of the applicant, pointed out that there was now affordable housing as part of the scheme and also said that the site was not in the green belt and never had been, although a planning officer clarified that at present green-belt policies apply to the area.

“The application is a genuine one to find a alternative, sustainable use for site,” added Mr Garland.

Stannington Parish Council had objected to the scheme, saying it was not in keeping with the existing dwellings and would create an urban sprawl in the countryside.

However, speaking at the meeting, Chairman Coun Karen Carins was concerned that Stannington Station Road had been designated as an unsustainable settlement, higlighting how it supports the neighbouring communities in social and economic terms.

Referring to her submissions, Coun Dougie Watkin said: “I sincerely hope that is there submission to the LDF (Local Development Framework) consultation.

“If the affordable housing element had been stacked up properly then I would have supported it.”

Coun Gordon Castle added: “For an unspecified number and type of affordable housing, we cannot go against the policies we are meant to support.”

Coun Heather Cairns suggested that the parish council’s support for a more appropriate development on the site meant the applicant could perhaps come back with a new proposal.

“I think it’s a sustainable site and I’m interested that the parish council thinks it’s a sustainable site,” she said.

All eight councillors voted against the scheme.