Estate revamp gets go-ahead

FOUR separate plans to redevelop a north Northumberland estate were approved in what was described as a ‘tipping point’ in its future by a planning chief.

At last night’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s area planning committee north, members voted unanimously in support of the scheme which will see ten new homes, a shooting lodge, two holiday cottages, a camping barn and a brand new manor house constructed at the Hettons Estate between Lowick and Chatton.

Peter Rutherford, the county council’s area development manager north, described the plans, which will see farm buildings being brought back into use and diversification of the estate into tourism, as a ‘tipping point’ in its future and giving the estate ‘another iteration in its economic future’.

Members agreed that the development was appropriate for north Northumberland with Coun Anthony Murray highlighting that it will preserve it as a working estate as well as bringing much needed employment to the area.

The applicants, Jan and Nico Geertzema, who trade as the President Estate Farming Partnership, had proposed that one of the houses at both Laverock Law and Hetton Steads would be available as affordable housing.

But planning officers suggested that as the sites are relatively remote, affordable housing isn’t necessarily appropriate, and instead a commuted sum could be given to provide affordable housing in either Lowick or Chatton. Members agreed that this condition should be added to the approval of the two plans.

For full reports on this and other plans from last night’s area planning committee north, see next Thursday’s Gazette.