Council refuses Northumberland Estates' proposed housing scheme in Lesbury
Controversial plans for a new housing scheme on the outskirts of Lesbury have been refused.
Northumberland Estates had applied for outline planning permission for a development of around 41 homes on the north side of the village.
However, the proposal has been refused by officers at Northumberland County Council for several reasons, including its impact on open countryside.
Senior planning officer James Bellis reported: ‘Although Lesbury is an acceptable location for new housing development in principle, it is considered that the proposal would be contrary to both national and local planning policies.
‘An incursion in this direction would potentially open up the land to north of Lesbury to further future development. The proposed development would dramatically alter the form and extent of the settlement.’
‘Further to this, the proposal would impact upon open views over the surrounding countryside which are afforded from the site and would have a negative harmful impact on the nearby Northumberland Coast AONB.
‘It is therefore considered that the impact the proposal will have on the surrounding landscape and environmental character would be considerable.’
The decision has been greeted with dismay by Northumberland Estates, which represents the Duke of Northumberland’s business interests.
Guy Munden, development planner at Northumberland Estates said: “The decision to turn down this planning application is disappointing on several levels.
“It would have provided 20 much needed affordable homes, far in excess of the usual requirements and in a location which has become out of the price range of many local families and younger couples.
“It would be a great shame to see Lesbury and Hipsburn turn into yet another example of villages dominated by retired people and second home owners, losing the vital diversity of community which is so important if facilities such as the village school and local pub are not to suffer.”
The proposed site, with an indicated mix of two, three and four bedroom homes, would have been accessed off the B1339 Longhoughton Road.
The application attracted 66 letters of objection relating to loss of a greenfield site, damage to the rural character of the village and the impact on wildlife, while concerns were raised that it was pre-empting the emerging Lesbury Neighbourhood Plan.
Objections were also raised Northumberland Coast AONB and Lesbury Parish Council, while concerns were also aired by neighbouring Alnmouth Parish Council.
Although they had not been confirmed, Northumberland Estates had indicated it was willing to contribute to s106 contributions of £28,500 in relation to primary healthcare infrastructure and a contribution of £24,600 in relation to off site ecological matters.