Plans to replace Felton’s youth club building with a block of flats have been turned down by councillors, against the advice of the planning officers.
Northumberland County Council’s planning committee was recommended to approve Tantalion Est. Ltd’s bid to knock down the ex-Felton and Thirston Youth Club, in Recreation Lane, and replace it with a two-storey building comprising four apartments.
But at Tuesday afternoon’s meeting, members voted by five to two to refuse the scheme on the basis that it would be overdevelopment of the site, which would cause demonstrable harm to the conservation area and lead to problems on the narrow, private road which is used to access the village’s recreation ground.
Felton Parish Council had objected to the scheme, while 18 residents also voiced their disapproval.
At the meeting, two residents and Stephen Walton, chairman of the parish council, reiterated their concerns, which included over-development; refuse collection; the impact on highway and pedestrian safety; the removal of trees; the development being out of keeping with the character of the area; and impact on ecology.
Coun Anthony Murray said: “It’s the danger aspect that I’m very much concerned about. It’s a very narrow lane and there’s really nowhere you can put a passing place. It’s a private lane and I can’t see where passing places could be put. I think the danger of the lane is dramatic bearing in mind there’s a recreation space at the end of it.”
However, it should be noted that there was no objection from the highways department on safety grounds.
Coun Bernard Pidcock added: “We can’t mess about with the conservation area by following officers’ advice.”