Homes scheme approved for Northumberland village, despite objections

A plan showing the layout of part of the scheme, which was approved today.
A plan showing the layout of part of the scheme, which was approved today.

A controversial scheme for almost 60 houses to be built in a Northumberland village has been approved by councillors this afternoon, on a nine to four majority.

Northumberland Estates is behind the application for homes on land either side of Garleigh Road, Rothbury. The site is split into two development areas. The first, for 40 private homes, is to the south of existing properties at Lordenshaw Drive, while the second, for 17 affordable houses, is to the south of Dr Thomlinson’s C of E Middle School and Silverton Lane.

The Estates' bid prompted objections from 29 neighbours, while the parish councils of Rothbury, Cartington and Whitton and Tosson were all against.

However, the application was recommended for approval, subject to the completion of a section 106 legal agreement to secure the delivery of on-site affordable housing. It had come before Northumberland County Council's strategic planning committee towards the end of last year, but it was deferred for members to attend a site visit. The scheme was back on the agenda of today's meeting and the majority of members voted in favour of the development.

Speaking at the meeting, Coun Scott Dickinson, who voted against the scheme, said: "I'm concerned that this is another development that will be stood for a period of time and the people of Rothbury have standing developments all around them with little to no action." Coun Richard Dodd added: "I'm not happy with it, but I don't think there's anything I can do about it. I'm generally in favour of progress, but I think this is one that's in the wrong place." But Coun Colin Horncastle said: "I don't think it's a particularly wonderful application, but I can't see any planning grounds to refuse it."

Rothbury parish and county councillor Steven Bridgett spoke against the scheme. Writing on Facebook after today's verdict, he said: "The councillors who sit on the council planning committee have voted in favour of yet another development to be approved in Rothbury. We put up a good amount of opposition and I, along with several residents, spoke against the application.

"But nothing surprises me any longer with what gets approved by Northumberland County Council. The councillors are spooked by the continued threat made by developers, officers of the council and on this occasion the chairman (who in my view should have remained impartial and not used the words he did). I think there are some who need to stand up to what officers are saying and recommending and if needed, provide alternative recommendations for decisions. Be prepared for applications to go to appeal, be prepared to defend them at appeal. Do not continue to roll over on applications where members actually say they 'feel uncomfortable' about approving this but then approve it because you're frightened it maybe challenged."

SEE THURSDAY'S NORTHUMBERLAND GAZETTE FOR FULL STORY