Earth home bid passed

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A plan for an ‘earth-sheltered holiday dwelling’ has been given the go-ahead, despite objections from residents and parish councillors.

Members of Northumberland County Council’s north area planning committee unanimously approved the application, with conditions, last Thursday.

The scheme, for Weetwood Hall, Wooler, will see the creation of an L-shaped building ‘set back into the slope of the ground’ about 55metres from the grade-II listed hall.

It would have a grass-covered roof with only the front and side elevations, facing south and east, visible above ground.

Tillside Parish Council and residents had raised a number of objections, including lack of need for the building and impact on the local water supply.

But planning officers had recommended approval.

Coun Anthony Murray, ward member for Wooler, noted that the application was to build on a greenfield site and said he could not see any justification for it.

Peter Rutherford, north area development manager, said that there had been a ‘fundamental change’ on national planning policy framework, meaning that the scheme could be supported provided it was ‘otherwise sustainable’.

After the discussion, Coun Murray said he was ‘very happy’ to recommend that the scheme be accepted.

He felt the conditions took into account the ‘worries’ of objectors and ‘because of that I am happy to approve’.