Plans to build a house in the grounds of an Alnwick care home, which is likely to be sold after its closure, have been given the go-ahead.
The application, for a two-storey, three-bedroom property set into the hillside on land at Ravensmount Residential Care Home, Alnmouth Road, sparked seven objections from neighbours.
However, Northumberland County Council planning officers had recommended it for approval, which was unanimously backed by members of the authority’s planning and performance committee on Tuesday afternoon.
Resident Eileen Chatterjee spoke against the scheme on behalf of the neighbours living in the four houses directly affected by the proposals.
She highlighted their concerns over loss of privacy – due to the new home being on an elevated site with the living space on the first floor – as well as the potential for the access road’s proximity to the site boundary to cause the hedge to ‘die back’. “All this will mean a loss of our privacy, in fact no privacy at all,” she said.
Mrs Chatterjee also mentioned that there had been three previous applications for this site, all of which had been withdrawn ‘at the last moment’.
“It has caused us a lot of uncertainty,” she said. “I finish by urging the committee to reject this application on the grounds of loss of privacy or negative visual impact.”
An agent for the applicant responded to a number of the issues raised and said: “It’s a huge exaggeration to say there’s no privacy at all.”
Alnwick ward member, Coun Heather Cairns, also spoke in opposition to the plans, referring to the ‘three planks’ of sustainable development in the National Planning Policy Framework.
She said that the economic benefit of one home was negligible, while the social and environmental impact on neighbours was much greater. “It’s not sustainable as the three-legged stool falls over.”
Alnwick’s other ward member, Gordon Castle, moved approval with the addition of a condition to ensure the boundary hedge was maintained. He said he understood that residents didn’t want it, but there was no reason ‘sufficiently strong’ to refuse it.