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Planning permission refused for new Craster house

The junction of the access track and Dunstanburgh Road.
The junction of the access track and Dunstanburgh Road.

A new home in Craster has been narrowly refused on road-safety and design grounds, although some councillors were not convinced it should be rejected.

The proposal was for a single-storey property, on land west of 15 Dunstanburgh Road, which would use the sloping site to incorporate a split-level, open-plan internal arrangement.

The application was turned down at Thursday’s (July 20) meeting of the North Northumberland Local Area Council by five votes to four, in line with the planning officer’s recommendation.

In a report, the highways officer described the access as ‘a narrow, poorly constructed track’, while the junction with Dunstanburgh Road ‘is also narrow, little more than single vehicle width, and severely restricted in terms of visibility for emerging drivers’.

But having been told that the site was currently used for parking, some councillors felt that, if anything, approving the home would improve the situation.

However, planners explained that this parking use was informal and the access track is also unadopted so the county council has no control over this one way or the other.

Two residents, Sue Chapman and Marion Gallon, outlined the risks and limitations of this lane as well as how busy and well-used Dunstanburgh Road is by pedestrians.

On the other hand, Amer Waheed, a transport consultant for the applicant, questioned whether a single dwelling would have a severe impact – the test in the Government’s planning framework – given that the track already serves a number of other properties and the site in question is used for parking.

Coun Gordon Castle said: “There can be few walks that are more used and popular with visitors and others.

“The AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) has objected and they must be taken very seriously. Our responsibility is to look after the village and those using it and living in it.”

But Coun Trevor Thorne said: “I feel the AONB objection is a bit strong, is it really the urbanisation of Craster? Is the highways impact severe?”

Coun Jeff Watson added: “I don’t understand how we think we are going to have more traffic than we have already.”

By Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service