Homes refused on former Northumberland village school site

The former Cornhill First School site.
The former Cornhill First School site.

A bid to build housing on the former Cornhill First School site has been turned down due to the loss of the playing fields which are used by the community.

It means that Gleeson Homes has had two applications for homes on council-owned school sites in north Northumberland turned down in as many months.

At last month’s meeting of the North Northumberland Local Area Council, members rejected a scheme for 30 properties on the former Milfield County First School site, against the advice of planning officers.

This was because a majority of the committee agreed with Coun Robbie Moore, who said that the loss of open green space meant the development was not sustainable in social or environmental terms.

Last Thursday, the councillors unanimously refused proposals to demolish the former Cornhill First School and build 23 homes on the site, off St Helen’s Gardens.

In this case, the scheme was recommended for refusal with the loss of the open space as one of the reasons, because the playing fields have ‘remained open and are well-used by the public’, whereas the ‘overgrown’ Milfield site had been closed off since 2009.

However, Coun Steven Bridgett said that the only difference between the two was that the county council’s estates team ‘didn’t get in and lock the gates quick enough here’, adding that the recommendation seemed to ‘vindicate those of us who voted against the Milfield development’.

The other reason for refusal for the latest scheme, for eight two-bedroom, semi-detached houses and 15 three bedroom properties (seven detached), was that it ‘would not reflect the local character or distinctiveness of Cornhill-on-Tweed’.

Earlier in the meeting, a series of objections were outlined by resident Sue Dorrian and Coun Barbara Richmond, chairman of Cornhill Parish Council.

However, Coun Richmond added: “Going forward, the parish council would welcome the opportunity to achieve a positive outcome for all, but especially the residents of Cornhill-on-Tweed.”

Cornhill First School, which was built in 1993, closed at the end of the academic year in the summer of 2012, with the roll having dropped to just one pupil.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service