Contentious plans for new housing are resubmitted

Residents and parish councillors celebrate the rejection of the plans at Shilbottle.
Residents and parish councillors celebrate the rejection of the plans at Shilbottle.

Despite an ongoing appeal, plans for new homes in a north Northumberland village, vociferously opposed last year, have been resubmitted.

The Northumberland Estates has submitted another application for 47 new properties on land south of Grange Road in Shilbottle.

At the September 2013 meeting of Northumberland County Council’s north area planning committee, councillors sided with residents who had objected to the scheme.

Planners had recommended giving the nod to the controversial proposals for 47 new homes, a doctors’ surgery and start-up business units.

The application sparked 43 objections and two petitions – one of 133 names and another with 250 names, collected by the parish council, which was against the development.

Addressing the meeting, residents of the village, which has seen large developments at Farriers Rise and Tyelaw Meadows in recent years, focused heavily on the issues of flooding, foul water and sewerage from which Shilbottle already suffers.

Despite the assurances offered by county-council officers and the testimony of a drainage expert, members failed to see why work to improve the sewerage and water system could not be dealt with prior to any development.

Then, last month, we reported that the Northumberland Estates had chosen to fight that unanimous decision by lodging an appeal.

Colin Barnes, from the Estates, said: “Our engineers have been working with the council to ensure that any new development does not add to the flooding problem.

“The system which has been designed will remove surface water from the foul sewers, intercept water which currently runs off unimpeded from the fields and provide additional storage on site.”

And now, a new application has been submitted to the county council for the same number of homes, but without the GPs’ surgery and business units.

A planning statement does refer to village drainage issues, saying that ‘it was felt that this is the most pertinent issue regarding the site’.

It goes on to say that ‘it is considered that the issue of surface water and foul drainage has been adequately addressed’, following a letter from Northumbrian Water (NWL) from March this year.

NWL says that it does not object to the development; accepts the Estates’ calculations and reports; agrees that foul flows can be accommodated within the existing network without increasing flood risk.