Plans for new homes refused

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Plans for new homes in a small north Northumberland village, which were approved five years ago, have been turned down.

This was much to the anger of the applicant, Mr J Jaafar, who described it as ‘shambolic’ and a ‘miscarriage of justice’, when he spoke at last Thursday’s (June 21) meeting of the North Northumberland Local Area Council.

The retrospective demolition of outbuildings and the construction of three terraced houses, on land to the south of the Red Lion pub in Milfield, had been recommended for refusal.

But in late 2013, it had been approved by a council planning committee, in line with the officer recommendation.

This resubmission was needed because the development hadn’t started within three years, which was a requirement of the previous approval – although Mr Jaafar claimed that work had begun on site.

Councillors asked a series of questions about the previous permission and the retrospective element of the new plan, but were advised that they should simply deal with the new application that was in front of them.

The planning officer in this case warned that it would result in the total loss of a non-designated heritage asset (outbuilding) and cause harm to the setting of the grade II-listed Red Lion.

Coun Gordon Castle moved going against the recommendation and approving the scheme, because he was on the committee for the first decision and said his view hadn’t changed.

However, this motion failed by three votes to seven (one abstention) and a subsequent vote to follow officer advice and refuse it was successful by six to three (two abstentions).

Coun Anthony Murray said: “This plot is very, very limited. It is going to be sitting there with very little room between it and the listed building.”

Coun Trevor Thorne agreed, adding: “I do feel this is a cramped site.

“I want to get the applicant to come back with a better application that does less harm to the Red Lion.”

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service