Planning inspector hears appeal over earth-shelter bid

The site of the proposed earth shelter in Beadnell. Ref: JCNG 240614site 2
The site of the proposed earth shelter in Beadnell. Ref: JCNG 240614site 2

An appeal hearing has taken place following the county council’s refusal of a scheme for an earth shelter in a north Northumberland seaside village.

Development on the seaward side of Harbour Road in Beadnell has long caused consternation with residents and the same was true when plans were submitted for the property on land north-west of 15 Harbour Road in December 2011.

Sukie and Richard Ranken wanted to build the three-bedroomed dwelling on the site of a former air raid shelter to provide around 110 sq m of accommodation, comprising an east-facing glazed lounge, with the other rooms being set into the slope of the ground, with a continuation of the grassed landform continuing over the roof.

The scheme was eventually thrown out by Northumberland County Council’s north area planning committee in June last year, having attracted 75 objections from residents as well as from the parish council and the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership.

Planning Inspector Alison Partington listened to submissions from the applicant, the county council and other interested parties such as Beadnell Parish Council and the Save Beadnell Assocation on Wednesday.

The discussion focused on three key issues: The effect of the development on the AONB and heritage coast; on the surrounding area; and coastal erosion.

While the applicant feels that the property’s design means it would have low visual impact, the county council has concerns over issues such as lighting, vegetation on the roof and surrounding the property, and the concrete wall being exposed by erosion or weather conditions.

The inspector will make a decision in the coming days.