Owners of mill express fears over homes bid

Thrum Mill, Rothbury
Thrum Mill, Rothbury

An emotional neighbour has criticised plans to build three homes in a tiny hamlet, saying the proposals are a ‘flagrant attack on a much-loved place’.

At this month’s meeting of Rothbury Parish Council, Margaret Hedley spoke out against the outline proposals for three new properties and the demolition of a barn/workshop at Thrum Mill Farm.

Mrs Hedley and her husband Dave are the owners of the grade II-listed water mill known as Thrum Mill, which they are restoring and featured on Channel 4’s The Restoration Man.

She said: “The Thrum is a tiny hamlet with only three dwellings, parts of which – our water mill – date back to 1665 and a brand-new development would irreparably jeopardise the character of these surroundings.” She added that they believe the development brings no benefits, ‘merely short-term profit’.

The plans have sparked a number of comments from residents, but there is an almost even split between those supporting and those opposing the bid.

However, county councillor Steven Bridgett is to request that the application is dealt with by one of the authority’s planning committee.

In a design and access statement submitted with the application, it states that pre-application advice was obtained from planners, who raised ‘some concerns’ that new homes could have adverse effects on the rural and undeveloped character of the area.

But the report adds: ‘Detailed consideration of the advice has been undertaken and this application seeks to demonstrate that the scheme would deliver a sustainable form of development having regard to the local and national policy, that new housing development would be justified and that there are clear benefits of the proposals that outweigh any harm.’