Two schemes approved in a bid to rectify past mistakes

Bedmax, at Detchant near Belford.
Bedmax, at Detchant near Belford.

Controversial plans which revolve around a dispute between residents and a successful firm in a rural hamlet were approved as ‘the lesser of two evils’ tonight.

At this evening’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s north area planning commitee, Bedmax, the horse-bedding firm, was granted retrospective permission for a storage building at Greymare Farm in Detchant, near Belford.

The business has been at the centre of a long-running saga, primarily relating to the use of the narrow U34 through the hamlet by large numbers of HGVs.

The planning approval for Bedmax’s production plant, dating back to 1999, had no conditions controlling traffic and so this new application offered an opportunity to implement a traffic management plan, which will manage the number and times of HGV movements, result in the creation of four passing places and see the establishment of a liaison group to discuss issues.

Nonetheless, a number of residents and other business owners in Detchant were still vehemently opposed to the plans. However, councillors voted to approve the scheme as the traffic management plan allows more control than currently.

A separate retrospective application for car parking for office workers was also approved alongside the extension of the time limit for a previously-approved scheme to expand the office.

Elsewhere, the committee approved an application to alter a condition relating to the sale of clothing at Heighley Gate Garden Centre near Morpeth.

In a similar situation to the Detchant scenario, it was felt that the current condition was difficult to enforce and so the change was approved to ensure that the planning authority has some control over the amount and type of clothing sold, despite concerns from a number of traders over the impact on Morpeth town centre.

An application to build executive homes at Burgham Park was deferred for more information to be sought regarding the financial case as the new housing was proposed to enable the wider Northumbrian Hills leisure development to go ahead.