Green light for homes and caravans proposal

The Blue Bell Hotel in Belford.
The Blue Bell Hotel in Belford.

A plan for nine new houses and a 14-unit camp site in Belford has been approved by a majority decision.

At last week’s North Northumberland Local Area Council meeting, members voted seven-to-three in favour of the scheme, for land behind the Blue Bell Hotel.

The proposal, recommended for approval, had been deferred in April for councillors to go on a site visit.

Moorlands Holdings North East, the hotel’s owner, is behind the plan – to build five three-storey homes, cut into the hillside, on what used to be part of the hotel’s kitchen garden, but has been unused for more than 20 years.

A further four homes are planned in a field bounded to the east by St Mary’s churchyard, reached by an extended access road. The lower half of the field, north and west of St Cuthbert’s Drive, is set to house seven glamping pods, four touring caravans and three static caravan pitches, as well as a toilet/shower block.

A coastal mitigation contribution from the applicant, totalling £10,300, is to be secured via a section 106 agreement.

The application had prompted seven resident objections, while Belford Parish Council was against, due to issues over access, suitability of the site and visual impact.

At the meeting, Berwick East councillor Georgina Hill said the scheme would have a detrimental impact on visual amenity, adding: “I think this is an unsuitable area of land, it will destroy the area and the harm outweighs the benefits.”

But Alnwick councillor Gordon Castle said: “There will be some impact, but not sufficient for us to refuse this.”