Final planning approval secured for new homes in West Thirston

Detailed plans for a housing development in a rural village have received the green light.
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Northumberland Estates secured outline planning permission on appeal for nine homes on land east of Greycroft, at West Thirston, in 2021.

Now, Altoria Development Ltd has received approval for its reserved matters application giving details of access, appearance, landscaping, layout and scale.

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Thirston Parish Council and 16 local residents had raised concerns.

West Thirston with the development site to the right. Picture: GoogleWest Thirston with the development site to the right. Picture: Google
West Thirston with the development site to the right. Picture: Google

The parish council noted: ‘Had the Neighbourhood Plan been adopted before this application was approved (which it would have been if Covid19 had not hit) this application would never have been approved as it is outside the settlement boundary for West Thirston and totally goes against all the Neighbourhood Plan policies.’

Other concerns were raised about access and road safety, parking and the design of the properties, while some questioned if there was demand and would set a precedent for future development.

However, permission was granted by Northumberland County Council’s planning department using delegated powers as there were no objections by statutory bodies.

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Senior planning officer Ryan Soulsby reported: ‘Amended plans were submitted to the local planning authority (in August 2023) following initial concerns regarding the scale and bulk of the proposed dwellings.

‘The overall scale, massing and form of the bungalows are now more appropriate for the plot sizes whilst the external material palette shall respect the ruralness and traditionalism of the settlement.’

He added: ‘The proposals demonstrate an acceptable access that would allow safe ingress and egress.’

In a planning report, Joanne Wood of BH Planning and Design, on behalf of the applicant, reported: ‘The application proposes a high quality development which would be in keeping with the character and appearance of the surrounding area.’

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Northumberland Estates applied in late 2017 to build 30 houses on the site but the outline scheme was turned down by the local authority under delegated powers in July 2018. This decision was appealed, but, following a hearing in October 2019, a Government-appointed planning inspector dismissed the appeal because it was ‘out of keeping’ with the village.

By the end of the year, the Estates had lodged a new outline application for the plot for nine homes. Council planners rejected this under delegated powers as well, in June 2020, but the applicant was successful with a second appeal.