Residents up in arms over retrospective application

The decking and patio area at the front of You Only Live Once in Bell Villas, Ponteland.
The decking and patio area at the front of You Only Live Once in Bell Villas, Ponteland.

Northumberland County Council has come in for criticism over a structure that forms part of a bar in Ponteland.

You Only Live Once opened in September in Bell Villas, three years after a planning inspector allowed its appeal.

Alan Mee, a retired builder, observed the decking and patio area at the front of the development being built from the early stages and he believes it is ‘appalling’.

This structure did not have planning permission.

Mr Mee said: “Many groups and residents were in contact with county council planners as the decking and patio area was being constructed, with huge concerns for the protection of our conservation area.

“We’re angry that despite these many voiced objections, the council allowed it to be built and now a retrospective application has been lodged.

“With my knowledge of building regulations and materials, I have major concerns about the structure itself and the lack of barriers could particularly pose a problem for people in wheelchairs.

“Following a site meeting with a planning officer, I was told that I needed to contact a building control company in Blyth to make my points.

“I hope this still means that the structure will be thoroughly assessed.”

Planning deals with issues such as the land use and design, while building control aims to ensure that construction meets building regulations.

Developers can source building control services either from the council or from private companies.

A county council spokeswoman said: “A retrospective application was received for installation of the timber decking, which was not part of the original permission, and the council consulted on this in the usual ways with neighbouring properties and through a press notice and site notice.

“Consultees were able to comment within the normal timescales for planning applications. The application is still under consideration and a decision will be made in due course.

“Separate to this, the applicant has also made applications to discharge conditions that were part of the original planning permission.

“The planning process does not require public consultation on discharge of conditions.”