Developer appeals after being told to remove uPvc windows from historic Northumberland fishermen's sheds in Craster

An appeal has been lodged after a developer’s unapproved changes to a conversion scheme in the heart of a Northumberland seaside village were refused.

By Ben O'Connell
Tuesday, 19th January 2021, 1:59 pm

The application, for land south-east of Lifeboat House, Haven Hill, required the chairman’s casting vote to get the green light when it went before the North Northumberland Local Area Council.

The proposal had been recommended for approval, but members had voted five for and five against after hearing a number of concerns from the parish council.

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The sheds in Craster prior to conversion work beginning

The chairman, Cllr Bryn Owen, told the December 2017 meeting that the units should have been considered a non-designated heritage asset due to their history as fishermen’s sheds and a smokehouse.

Since then, the work carried out has not been fully in accordance with the approved plans, which resulted in a variation application being submitted in March 2020 to regularise the development.

The requested amendments include changes to the position of the permitted flues, removal of the shutters, and a change to the window frame materials from timber to uPVC.

However, in July, planning officers rejected this bid under delegated powers on the grounds of a ‘detrimental visual impact upon the surrounding street scene’ and the negative impact on the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The county council report stated: ‘The works carried out to the building are of good quality and appearance, however, they have diverged from the approved scheme in terms of design and materials.

‘The approved scheme sought to retain the wooden shutters and timber window frames as these formed a key element of the building’s character and design.

‘The removal of the shutters and the change to uPVC windows has had a detrimental impact upon the character and does not therefore protect or enhance the local environment.’

Objections had been lodged by both Craster Parish Council – which called for enforcement action to compel the applicant to complete the properties as originally agreed – and the AONB partnership, which said that the variations ‘will harm the character and appearance of these key historic buildings at the centre of Craster and have a negative impact’ on the landscape.

The final decision will now be made by a Government-appointed planning inspector after the applicant, David Sean Pringle, lodged an appeal in December 2020.

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