Neighbouring homes applications refused

Two bids for new homes on Stannington Station Road, which has seen plenty of development in recent years, have been turned down by councillors.

Thursday, 18th April 2019, 9:55 am
Updated Thursday, 18th April 2019, 9:59 am
A map showing the green-belt extension boundaries from the submission draft of the Northumberland Local Plan. Sites in orange have planning permission for housing.

The separate applications, but for neighbouring sites along the stretch, were recommended for refusal when they went before last week’s meeting of the Castle Morpeth Local Area Council and both were unanimously rejected, largely because they are in the green belt.

The first scheme to be decided was for a detached, four-bedroom house on land west of 65 Station Road.

The applicant’s agent, Tony Carter, said that this site was not in an isolated location and is within the settlement, which would be marked by 77 Station Road, 200 metres further east.

He continued that the proposal was ‘clearly infill’ – an exception which can be allowed in the green belt – because there are ‘stark similarities to recent approvals for infill elsewhere on Station Road’.

Mr Carter added that this was one of several inconsistencies being displayed by the council’s planners in relation to this application.

But, in response to their questions, the councillors were told that the green belt has to be ‘very carefully justified’ now that Northumberland County Council can demonstrate it has a housing land supply of more than five years.

Planning officer Tamsin Wood added: “Each application on Station Road has been considered very carefully. Some were infill for a good reason, some were on previously-developed land. This is not infill.”

This was followed by an outline application for five homes on land north-east of 63 Station Road.

A statement from the applicant’s agent, read out on his behalf in his absence, made similar arguments to Mr Carter, suggesting this site is ‘almost identical in circumstances to land at number 33’.

But, once again, this view was not shared by the council’s planning officer, as outlined in her report.

The applicant and a supporter also highlighted that this development would provide much-needed bungalows, two of which would meet the higher category three building regulations, meaning that they are suitable for wheelchair users.

Coun Richard Wearmouth said: “It doesn’t go without some thought about what the applicant says, but I don’t really think this is infill.”