Stamfordham farm cottage denied planning consent amid 'wool pulled over our eyes' claim by councillor

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A county councillor has claimed his authority has been “taken to the cleaners” over a certain type of planning application.

Northumberland County Council’s local plan, the overarching planning policy for the entire county, prohibits building in the green belt barring exceptional circumstances. Among these circumstances is where a farm or rural business requires accommodation for workers.

But speaking at Monday’s meeting of the Castle Morpeth Local Area Committee, Cllr Richard Dodd suggested that some applicants would submit this type of application in order to get housing built, only for the business to close.

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Members were considering a plan to build a rural workers dwelling on land east of La Luna Farm near Stamfordham. The plans were recommended for approval by officers, but councillors voted to refuse them.

Councillors voted to refuse the plans. (Photo by LDRS)Councillors voted to refuse the plans. (Photo by LDRS)
Councillors voted to refuse the plans. (Photo by LDRS)

Cllr Dodd said: “How often are we going to be taken to the cleaners? We are getting a lot of applications for houses on horse farms, and before long the horses are gone and we are left with the house.

“A farm worker should be an endangered species, because there are very, very few of them. They only seem to come to prominence when somebody wants to build a house.

“We have houses all over the county built for farm workers where they are no longer required. We have had the wool pulled over our eyes.”

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Speaking in support of the application, planning agent Hannah Wafer had said the applicant had created a “viable equestrian business” with 15 horses on site. She added that the animals “can and do command high sale values.”

But councillors were unconvinced. Cllr Veronica Jones said: “I do not feel that they have demonstrated an exceptional need to build in the green belt.

"The applicant has started a business in the green belt, a business that does not need to be in the green belt.

“There is no benefit to the area, there is no benefit to the local economy. To me, there is a negative impact on the whole area.”

The plans were refused by councillors at the meeting, which took place on Monday, by six votes to two with one abstention.