Controversial Swarland development granted extra houses

A housing development in Swarland has been granted permission to increase the number of houses proposed from nine to eleven.

Saturday, 24th April 2021, 5:40 pm
The site of the proposed houses at Swarland submitted with the plans.
The site of the proposed houses at Swarland submitted with the plans.

Construction, conducted by property firm Cussins, is already under way on a housing project on land south of Mereburn, Low Wood.

Several objections to the plans have been made on county council’s online Planning Portal (reference number 20/03622/FUL) and it has proved controversial with the parish council.

Concerns from residents of Low Wood and the parish council were put to Northumberland County Council’s North Northumberland Local Area Council on Thursday, April 22.

An aerial view of the Swarland housing site.

Residents objected to the reduction in space between existing and proposed dwellings.

Other objections included a perceived increase in the likelihood of flooding, increased traffic, damage to the ecology of the area and a reduction of privacy.

The residents’ statement of objection concluded: “If the committee is leaning towards granting this new application, we would like to invite them to first visit Low Wood to see first-hand the issues faced and the impact additional housing would have on the area.”

The committee members were told that these issues had been looked into and planning officers determined there were no serious problems with extending the development.

Cussins also issued a statement refuting the concerns of residents and the parish council.

The company said that neither Northumbrian Water nor the Environment Agency had concerns with regard to flooding.

Also, according to Cussins, the Highways authority stated the impact of the extra housing on the traffic of the area would be negligible.

In response to the increased density of the site, Cussins claimed that even with the addition of the two extra dwellings “this is very low density development”.

Planning officer Vivienne Cartmell also reassured the committee stating: “This is not going to have a detrimental impact on the amenity of the existing residents in terms of overlooking and privacy.”

A vote was cast and the application was carried 5 to 2 in favour.

Cllr Georgina Hill raised concerns over the density of the project and feared that further extensions would create a precedent and voted against.

The extension is subject to a financial contribution towards affordable housing provision off-site to the sum of £40,800.