Concerns over continuing development in rural Northumberland settlement

Concerned residents are asking how much is too much as bids for new homes continue to come thick and fast in Stannington Station.

By Ben O'Connell
Friday, 25th January 2019, 8:35 am
Updated Friday, 25th January 2019, 8:40 am
A map showing the green-belt extension boundaries from the submission draft of the Northumberland Local Plan. Sites in orange have planning permission for housing.
A map showing the green-belt extension boundaries from the submission draft of the Northumberland Local Plan. Sites in orange have planning permission for housing.

While each planning application has to be decided on its merits, some are worried that there seems to be no overall acknowledgement of the cumulative impact of scores of new houses in the past few years.

And they feel that there is a particular drive at the moment with developers seeking permission ahead of the adoption of the new Northumberland Local Plan, which firms up the boundary of the green-belt extension around the rural settlement on Station Road, a mile-long stretch between the A1 and A192.

Since the start of 2016, around 70 homes have been approved on Station Road, including 34 on the former Stannington and Birchwood Nurseries sites, while there are currently plans with Northumberland County Council for a further 45.

It is believed that in 2015, there were around 77 dwellings along Station Road, which means that the settlement has grown by 90 per cent in just three years.

If the 45 awaiting a decision were given the go-ahead, that would represent a 140 per cent expansion in Stannington Station Road since the start of 2016.

The latest bid, lodged this month, is an outline proposal for five homes on land north-east of 63 Station Road.

A planning statement submitted by the applicant says that their view is that the scheme should not be assessed against green-belt policy as the detailed boundaries have not been agreed.

In December, an outline application for nine homes on land north-east of number 51 was submitted.

The site is described as brownfield land, given that it is currently used for storing caravans, vehicles and shipping containers, while there are also various outbuildings.

But the parish council highlights that ‘a large proportion of this development is in the green belt and contrary to the Stannington Parish Neighbourhood Plan’.

This in turn came hot on the heels of a submission for six detached houses on land between 26 and 30 Station Road, described as an in-fill site.

It is next door to the site where eight bungalows, known as Furrow Grove, have been built and a further six are under construction in phase two.

However, a recent bid for six more detached bungalows on land to the rear of 26 Station Road, the other side of Furrow Grove, was narrowly refused by the Castle Morpeth Local Area Council in October.

Further west on Station Road, outline plans for two new homes on land west of number 62 were supported by a different planning committee that same month despite a recommendation to refuse from the county council’s planning officers.

There is also an application in the system for 20 homes on land at number 56, described as a brownfield site, due to being occupied by outbuildings, stables, equestrian riding arena and paddocks.

Plus, a further five properties on land north-west of 75 Station Road are awaiting a decision too.

The Stannington Parish Neighbourhood Plan, which passed referendum in July last year and was ‘made’ in September, states: ‘There is strong feeling in the local community that Stannington Station should retain its ‘rural feel’ and the sense of openness within the green belt.’

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service