Family refused planning permission to rebuild fire-damaged cottage they owned for 100 years

Plans to rebuild a fire-ravaged cottage that has been in the same family for a century have been refused.

By James Robinson
Friday, 24th June 2022, 5:49 pm

Gary Grahamslaw applied for permission to rebuild Grahamslaw Cottage on Priests Moor near the village of Christon Bank after it was destroyed in a devastating fire two years ago.

The proposed dwelling would have been located on the same footprint as the previous cottage.

However, officers and councillors agreed that permission could not be granted as the site was in the open countryside, and the building had abandoned for 20 years prior to the fire.

The application has been refused by Northumberland County Council.

The officer’s report stated: “It is reasonable to believe the use of the dwelling was abandoned prior to the fire in 2020. Therefore, circumstances relating to the fire is not afforded significant weight in the determination of this application.”

Speaking at Thursday’s meeting of North Northumberland Local Area Council, Mr Grahamslaw said: “There was previously a dwelling on the site which has been in our family for more than 100 years. Unfortunately in 2020 there was a devastating fire that completely destroyed the house.

“The replacement would be sympathetic to the original building and we have the support of the parish council,” before adding that the building would be used as accomodation for the family.

Cllr Georgina Hill, member for Berwick East, said: “It is one of those ones where you have huge sympathy for the applicant with the cottage they’ve owned for decades having been fire damaged – but I really think the policy is very clear.

“We have to go along with that – but greatest sympathy to the family.”

Cllr Martin Swinbank, Alnwick ward, added that he had regularly passed the site and had only recently realised there was a building on it due to the overgrown nature of the site.

Clle Jeff Watson, Amble West with Warkworth, said: “My initial inclination was to support the application but when I hear the officer it is clear.”

The application was unanimously rejected by all nine councillors.

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