Further Northumberland plans due for a decision this week

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A farm conversion, the first of a hillside row of self-build houses and the creation of a holiday let all go before councillors later this week.

The three planning applications are all due for decisions as part of a busy agenda at Thursday’s (March 21) meeting of the North Northumberland Local Area Council.

In Christon Bank, an outline application for the demolition of an existing building and redevelopment of the site for up to five homes is recommended for refusal, despite the support of Embleton Parish Council.

The site features an agricultural-style building used for stabling and a small riding area plus a compacted hardcore standing which is used for storing cars, and is located around 400m south of Christon Bank.

Its location in the open countryside is one of the reasons for a recommendation of refusal by the planning officer, who also says that it ‘would have an unacceptable impact on the landscape and character of the immediate and wider area and would result in an obtrusive development in the rural landscape’.

Council officers also say that not enough information has been submitted in relation to contamination, noise, listed buildings and flooding and that the applicant ‘has failed to enter into an agreement to pay the contribution towards coastal mitigation’.

Also to be decided is the reserved matters application for plot four of a row of self-build homes on land south of Hillside Road West in Rothbury.

Northumberland Estates’ outline bid for the nine plots was approved in November 2016 and now the application for the details of one of the houses – a three-bedroom property – is recommended for approval.

It is before the committee as the ward member, Coun Steven Bridgett, has called it in over concerns about visual amenity and design, while the scheme has attracted one objection over the use of timber cladding on the first floor.

Finally, retrospective plans to change part of the main house at Thornbrae, on Alnmouth Road in Alnwick, into a holiday letting unit and retain three garden pods for storage only are also recommended for approval.

They have sparked an objection from Alnwick Town Council, which is concerned about the ‘retrospective nature of all the planning applications which have gradually changed the property into a small holiday complex on an ad-hoc basis without proper consideration of the overall impact’ among other issues.

The town council is particularly opposed to the pods, which have previously been subject to commercial letting without planning permission, being used for garden storage ‘as they are totally out of keeping with their surroundings’.

However, the planning officer says the application is acceptable, highlighting that the Alnwick and Denwick Neighbourhood Plan ‘supports new tourism development in or adjacent to the town’.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service