Council set to refuse its own house-builder's plans for development on Northumberland golf course

Plans for almost 50 new homes at a Northumberland golf club are up for refusal next week – despite the council’s own company being lined up to build them.

Saturday, 31st October 2020, 12:35 pm

Members of the strategic planning committee are recommended to reject the bid for 49 houses on the current driving range site at Bedlingtonshire Golf Club at a meeting on Tuesday, November 3.

The application, which was lodged last October, includes the creation of a new 24-bay, flood-lit, all-weather driving range and visitor facility to create a centre of excellence and also covers a refurbishment and extension to the clubhouse, with a new community function room to be created.

It has to be decided by councillors as the homes would be built by Ascent Homes, the house-building arm of the county council-owned company Advance Northumberland.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Bedlingtonshire Golf Club

This would fund the rest of the scheme, which is required as the club ‘is faced with a serious health and safety risk’, ‘as a result of a housing development beyond the boundary of the current driving range’.

A planning statement submitted with the plans said that despite restrictions, ‘the risk of golf balls encroaching onto properties has not been eradicated with two incidents of property damage recently and frequent reports of balls in gardens’, meaning the current range ‘is no longer fit for purpose’.

The proposal has sparked 14 objections and is opposed by West Bedlington Town Council, however, 47 letters of support have also been submitted.

The recommendation for refusal in the planning officer’s report is based on 10 reasons, although a number of these relate to the lack of a completed section 106 legal agreement for affordable housing plus health, education and other contributions, which likely could be resolved fairly easily.

Nonetheless, the planners’ view is that the residential development ‘would represent unnecessary and unjustified development in the open countryside outside of the defined settlement boundary’, ‘would not maintain the predominantly open character of the area’ and ‘would create an imposing urban form of development which would erode the qualities of this attractive landscape’.

The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers and consequently the advertising that we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news by buying a copy of our newspaper. If you can, please do pick up a copy when you are at the shops. Thank you for your support.