'Common sense' plan for four-bedroom house refused by Northumberland County councillors

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Plans to transform farm buildings into a four-bedroom home in the Northumberland countryside have been refused.

Members of Mitford Parish Council said the proposals to replace existing buildings at Gubeon Farm, near Morpeth, with the large dwelling were “common sense”, but planners at Northumberland County Council had recommended the plans for refusal.

Officers stated that they represented an “unacceptable and unjustified form of development” within the open countryside.

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The proposals would have seen a barn demolished and a single storey dwelling constructed along with a detached garage.

Northumberland County Council headquarters at County Hall, Morpeth. Photo: NCJ Media.Northumberland County Council headquarters at County Hall, Morpeth. Photo: NCJ Media.
Northumberland County Council headquarters at County Hall, Morpeth. Photo: NCJ Media.

The house would be separated into “three elements” – a central outdoor courtyard, with the eastern and western “wings” both incorporating two bedrooms with en-suites.

However, at Monday’s meeting of the Castle Morpeth Local Area Committee, members voted to go with the officers’ recommendations. It was decided that there were no “exceptional circumstances” that would allow such a development in the green belt.

Speaking at the meeting, Coun Mike Sharp of Mitford Parish Council argued in favour of the plan. He said: “The parish council support this application. We initially had concerns, but following a site visit we were satisfied.

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“The house would be on the site of a derelict barn and is screened by woodland and hedging. It does not impact the open countryside.

“It would be a vast improvement on what is there now. It is common sense – this is a quality development which replaces what is a blot on the landscape.”

But independent councillor Mary Murphy was not convinced. She said: “I’m sympathetic to what the parish council say, but this house doesn’t meet the exceptional circumstances.

“I agree that this area could be better used, but surely there better ways to use it that would benefit the community of Mitford, like three affordable houses. The very large house would attract a family who might not use local services, or even educate children locally.”

The committee voted to refuse the plans by six votes to zero, with one abstention.

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