The nature of sustainability, a key tenet of planning law, was debated as one outline bid for homes was approved and another refused this week.
At Northumberland County Council’s planning committee meeting on Tuesday, a scheme for 11 homes at Rennington was approved.
This was in line with the officer’s recommendation as was the refusal of plans for five homes at Old Swarland.
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)has ‘a presumption in favour of sustainable development’.
At several points during Tuesday’s meeting, members raised concerns that there seems to be a lack of consistency and no clear definition of sustainable.
Coun Heather Cairns voted to refuse the Rennington bid, but she was the only one.
“I fail to see how anyone would described this as a sustainable location when there’s no shop, no school and no buses,” she said.
Meanwhile, the scheme at Old Swarland was refused as the homes would be in the open countryside, but local county councillor, Trevor Thorne, had made a case that their location would ‘buy into and support’ the sustainability of nearby Swarland, Felton and Longframlington.
Details of the applications
Rennington: The application for 11 properties on land at Castle Back, new access to Church Road and the demolition of 3 The Barn, was recommended for approval. Eight of the dwellings would be sold on the open market and three would be affordable homes. The site will also provide some extra parking for the adjacent Grange care home.
Old Swarland: An application for up to five new properties, reduced from seven originally, on land east of Old Hall Farm in the hamlet south of Swarland, was recommended for refusal.