Appeal over gazebo-style hot-tub shelters at Alnwick holiday complex

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An appeal has been lodged over refused plans for hot-tub shelters in the garden of an Alnwick holiday complex.

The challenge relates to a retrospective application for four gazebos in the rear garden of Thornbrae, on Alnmouth Road.

They require permission as they are taller than would be allowed under permitted development rights due to the fact they are all within two metres of the property boundary.

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However, this was refused in July 2020 under delegated powers by Northumberland County Council planning officers on residential amenity grounds, ‘as a result of antisocial behaviour and the impacts of noise arising from the use of the proposed gazebos’.

Alnmouth Road, near the turn-off for the holiday cottagesAlnmouth Road, near the turn-off for the holiday cottages
Alnmouth Road, near the turn-off for the holiday cottages

The officer’s report explains that while the gazebos themselves are not an issue, their ‘positioning does however give rise to concerns in respect of noise and antisocial behaviour’.

‘Each of the four gazebos is located adjacent to the boundary of the property and provides a shelter for a hot tub, which are available for use by paying guests of the holiday accommodation on site,’ it read

‘Concerns have been raised by neighbours regarding the use of these outdoor areas at unsociable times and it is the gazebos (at least in part) that enable this activity,’ it continued.

‘It is evident therefore that the siting of the gazebos is responsible for a reduction in the levels of amenity enjoyed by neighbouring property owners.’

Alnwick Town Council had also objected to the scheme, describing it as ‘totally out of keeping with its location, surroundings and neighbouring properties’.

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But now, the final decision will be made by a Government-appointed planning inspector after the applicant, Michael Thorburn, submitted an appeal, which was confirmed late last month.

The planning history in the officer’s report details a number of applications dating back to 2015 relating to the property – which was previously a children’s home – with one of the most recent being a retrospective bid to change part of the house into a self-contained holiday let.

That scheme also sparked an objection from Alnwick Town Council, which was concerned about the ‘retrospective nature of all the planning applications which have gradually changed the property into a small holiday complex on an ad-hoc basis without proper consideration of the overall impact’.

This meant it went before the North Northumberland Local Area Council meeting in March 2019 for a decision, where it was recommended for approval by planning officers.

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It was unanimously backed by the committee, who had been on a site visit, led by Alnwick’s two county councillors at the time, Gordon Castle and Robbie Moore, who moved and seconded the approval respectively.

However, almost two years later, the planning permission has still not been issued by the local authority.

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