Frustrated villagers fighting plans for shepherds’ huts on a sensitive site on the north Northumberland coast are disappointed at ‘conflicting information’ from the council.
As reported by the Gazette last month, the proposal is for the former Link End Caravan Park in Alnmouth, nestled between the village’s two golf clubs.
Objectors say that it will change what was a private, family-run site with strict limitations into a commercial one. They are also concerned as it can only be accessed by footpath or track.
However, the applicants, Dale Maloney, from the Old School Art Gallery, and his business partner, Andrew Scott, say that the aim is simply to set up ‘a new eco-sustainable art retreat, fully respectful to the coast and its surroundings’.
But now, opponents have levelled criticism at Northumberland County Council. Objector Sue Graham, from the Friends of Bracken Hill, said they are being given the ‘run-around by the planning department and the site licensing people’. She added: “We are just banging our heads against brick walls.”
Some confusion arose as plans for six huts were submitted last year, but then withdrawn before a new application for a lawful development certificate was lodged.
A council spokesman said: “We have not received an application for shepherds’ huts to be located on this site, but we do have an application for a certificate of lawful use, which we are considering. This would officially authorise the caravans to continue to occupy this site, where they have been for decades.
“We have met the objectors to explain this process and we are listening to their concerns. Ideally, we would like to see all parties get together to discuss future plans for the site.”
Mr Maloney said: “Obviously we can’t comment on the British planning system, but we were advised by planning to apply for a certificate of lawful development due to the site’s established and documented history and so this is the route we have taken.”
He added that they intend to hold meetings with the community ‘to discuss plans and identify solutions to valid areas of concern’.