Casting vote needed to pass Craster plans

The units with blue doors on the right are to be converted into two homes.
The units with blue doors on the right are to be converted into two homes.

Divisive plans to convert two prominent units in the heart of Craster into homes were approved last week, but very narrowly indeed.

Five members of the county council’s North Northumberland Local Area Council voted to approve the scheme, to convert the garage/storage units on land south-east of Lifeboat House, Haven Hill, while five voted against.

The chairman, Coun Trevor Thorne’s, casting vote meant the plans were given the green light, despite the best efforts of the parish council to highlight a number of concerns.

Speaking at last Thursday’s meeting, the parish chairman, Coun Bryn Owen, said that while the units are currently used as garages/storage, they should be considered a non-designated heritage asset due to their history as fishermen’s sheds and a smokehouse.

He also pointed out that the plans submitted do not match the Land Registry plans and underlined the council’s concerns about parking.

However, Stephanie Linnell, from George F White, said that the applicant is ‘acutely aware’ of the village’s parking problems, which is why one space per property is included, despite the council’s highways team saying that no spaces would be acceptable.

She added: “It’s difficult to see what other uses these buildings could be put to.”

Moving approval, Coun Gordon Castle said: “A very reasonable and pragmatic attempt has been made to make this an acceptable planning application.”

However, Coun Georgina Hill was concerned about the new windows and openings to be introduced into the front of the buildings, while other members felt that the parking issues were key, specially given pressures on the coast.