Housing bids for two Northumberland villages refused

Schemes in Embleton and Bamburgh were refused.
Schemes in Embleton and Bamburgh were refused.

Bids for new homes on the edge of two north Northumberland villages have been unsuccessful, after councillors refused both schemes.

Planning officers had suggested that the applications, for Bamburgh and Embleton, be rejected at last Thursday’s (June 21) meeting of the North Northumberland Local Area Council.

And in each case, the committee did so unanimously.

The Bamburgh application was the first to go to committee since the North Northumberland Coast Neighbourhood Plan passed referendum last month, although a plan in Seahouses was discussed on the day of the vote.

In line with the key policy in that plan which aims to limit second/holiday homes, the proposal was for 10 principal occupancy dwellings, ranging from two to four-bedroom, on land east of The Friars, Radcliffe Road.

However, according to the planning officer’s report, it falls foul of other policies as it ‘proposes an inappropriate form of development outside of the settlement boundary’ and ‘would not represent appropriate development in the open countryside’.

Tim Ferguson, speaking on behalf of The Friary Management Company, described it as ‘a speculative development’ which ‘risks sprawl along the B1342’.

Coun Andrew Bardgett, from Bamburgh Parish Council, said it would be ‘a complete kick in the teeth’ for everyone who worked on the neighbourhood plan if it were approved.

But Nicola Allan, the applicant’s agent, said there was no way it would set a precedent for ribbon development or other development in the open countryside.

She also pointed out that this scheme had been earmarked for approval earlier in the year and was a victim of the progress of the neighbourhood plan.

Moving refusal, Coun Guy Renner-Thompson said: “I do have some sympathy with the applicants, but a week is a long time as they say and policies change. You take that risk.”

In the case of the Embleton proposal, for seven detached homes on land west of Station Road, the applicant’s planning consultant, Rod Hepplewhite, described it as ‘a travesty’, claiming his clients had been led to believe approval would be recommended.

“To say we are disappointed with the officer recommendation is a massive understatement,” he said.

But it had sparked 51 objections from neighbours, a large number of whom were at the meeting, as well as concerns from the parish council and neighbourhood plan steering group.

Parish council chairman Terry Howells said: “It’s the wrong houses in the wrong place with absolutely no need for them.”

The planning officer had concluded that the development would represent ‘an incursion into the open countryside’ and ‘impact upon open views over the surrounding countryside which are afforded from the site’.

Ben O'Connell , Local Democracy Reporting Service