Northumberland Estates loses appeal on plans to build 41 homes in Lesbury

An appeal lodged by Northumberland Estates following the refusal of plans for a new housing scheme has been dismissed.

Monday, 16th November 2020, 7:00 am

Northumberland Estates, which represents the business interests of the Duke of Northumberland, had appealed to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to overturn that decision.

But inspector Philip Lewis concluded: ‘The appeal scheme conflicts with policy for housing development in the countryside and would undermine the plan-making process of the Lesbury Neighbourhood Plan.’

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Northumberland Estates has lost its appeal against the refusal of its plans for a 41-home development in Lesbury.

His decision was taken after affording ‘significant weight’ to the emerging Lesbury Neighbourhood Plan, which is now ready for referendum.

The decision has been welcomed by local residents and Lesbury Parish Council.

Rob Bland, who lives near the proposed site, said: “This decision is very important in helping to protect our beautiful Nothumberland countryside from over-development.

"The rural landscape is hugely valued by residents and visitors alike (and benefits the economy through tourism).

"Lesbury's neighbourhood plan has played a vital part in the appeal decision, by setting out the clear wishes of local people for the future of the village."

Fellow objectors Jane and Michael Norris added: “Our worries about this proposed development and its likely impact on the lives of those residents that would have been impacted by it have been laid to rest.

"The work of those who developed the neighbourhood plan and the widespread support it received is greatly appreciated as is the care and thoroughness of the government’s Planning Inspectorate in reaching their decision.”

Parish council chairman, Dave Knowles said: “We were delighted to see that the independent examiner who scrutinised the appeal gave significant weighting to the neighbourhood plan when reaching his decision.

“The examiner’s report shows the complexities of the arguments he took into account and his appraisal is very thorough.

"The judgement he reached shows how important neighbourhood plans are in helping people to shape the future development of the place in which they live.”

The proposed site, with an indicated mix of two, three and four bedroom homes, was to have been accessed off the B1339 Longhoughton Road.

It would also have included 20 affordable homes.

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.

Officers at Northumberland County Council turned it down for several reasons, including its impact on open countryside.

When the scheme was refused by the council, Guy Munden, development planner at Northumberland Estates said: “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.”

Northumberland Estates says it is now considering the inspector’s decision.

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