New home plan on hold

A CONTENTIOUS plan to build a home – which an objector claimed would be so big it could be used as a navigational aid for shipping – has been put on hold, after councillors agreed a site visit.

The disputed scheme is for a detached, two-storey, contemporary property on Harbour Road, in Beadnell, and boasts features like a cinema, roof terrace and oval stair tower.

The bid, submitted by Newcastle-based Sadler Brown Architecture Ltd, is a revised proposal, after the previous one was refused for ‘scale, massing, impact on the streetscape, residential amenity and loss of privacy’ and is currently under planning inspectorate appeal.

However, planning officers recommended the amended plan be approved, subject to conditions, after changes were made to the original project, which would reduce the potential impact of the development in terms of height and overlook.

But opponents have not backed down, and at Northumberland County Council’s area planning committee north last Thursday, objector James Williamson urged members to go against the recommendations.

He said: “It is still an unacceptable form of development within the area of Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The design is very attractive and in the right setting I would not be objecting to it, but it is out of place on this site. It will stick out like a sore thumb and spoil the streetscape.

“However, should you decide to approve this development, it would be of benefit to local shipping as it would be a navigational aid.”

Under the revised scheme, which would create a new house on previously developed land, the property would have four bedrooms, a family bathroom and an en-suite on the ground floor, as well as an open plan kitchen, dining and living room, on the first floor, with a front facing balcony/terrace.

Like the original plan, the amended scheme fuelled objection letters from residents and Beadnell Parish Council which unanimously agreed that it should be refused.

Objections included overdevelopment, the property was not in keeping with others in the area, claims it would be an eyesore and that there was no ‘appreciable difference’ between the revised plan and the original.

Mr Williamson, of the Save Beadnell Association, reiterated objectors’ concerns, told members that issues with scale, massing and impact on the streetscape still applied and described the property as being a ‘blot on the landscape’.

But Stephen Miller, of Sadler Brown Architecture Ltd, hit back.

He said: “Far from being out of character within the seaside location, I think it is an appropriate style for a new building within this context. Buildings up Harbour Road are a mixture of styles and each building has been built in its own time. This building is built in 2011 and it reflects that.”

He added there had been some confusion about the heights and said changes had been made.

But members were not convinced and questioned the difference between the two applications, with Coun Gordon Castle saying the changes seemed ‘relatively small’.

Peter Rutherford, area development manager north, described the changes to the proposal as ‘subtle’ but said it had been looked at carefully and if alterations to the current scheme had not been of ‘sufficient substance’ to overcome the original, refused application, it would have been knocked back by delegated powers.

But committee chairman, Coun John Taylor, said: “It is important that it is dealt with properly and we get the decision right.”