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Noise concerns fail to derail function room

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A controversial scheme for a function room at Breamish Valley Cottages’ complex in Branton has been given the green light.

After a second lengthy debate on the proposals, for land south of the sports club, the application was approved by seven votes to zero, but with two abstentions, by the North Northumberland Local Area Council last Thursday.

At its December meeting, the committee had deferred the decision in order to go on a site visit, although last week’s meeting heard that only two councillors had attended.

The primary concerns were parking and noise, both of which could be exacerbated if the new function room is to be used by the wider community, rather than being tied to the holiday cottages.

However, planning officer Ragu Sittambalam confirmed that, initially at least, a condition will limit the use of the new facility to guests only, mainly due to parking.

A noise management plan and a parking strategy will have to be drawn up, which Coun Trevor Thorne described as ‘really crucial to making this whole thing work’.

Earlier in the meeting, Leonard Glen-Davidson, from Ingram Parish Council, which objected to the plans, said: “Residents are not being deliberately obstructive, but have genuine concerns about the lack of clarity and detail about noise, parking and who can use the building.”

But Coun Steven Bridgett moved approval, saying: “I was happy to approve before a site visit. I would like to commend Ragu for what is, by all standards, a pretty comprehensive set of conditions.”

Coun Gordon Castle added: “The parish council is right to have these concerns, but this is going as far as the (county) council can reasonably go.”

But Coun Georgina Hill said: “I like it as a business and an asset to the area, but what I have a problem with is the nature of the people who are going to come to this part of the world. In the past, enforcement has not been very good, frankly.”