Northumberland Estates refused planning permission for Acklington housing development
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Northumberland Estates, the Duke of Northumberland’s development company, wanted to build four homes near the former school in Acklington.
However, the application has been turned down by Northumberland County Council in the face of strong opposition, including objections from 19 local residents and the parish council.
Concerns were raised about the loss of trees, including a rare black poplar which was damaged by Storm Arwen, along with potential noise from a water pumping station and traffic congestion.
There were also wider concerns about ‘creeping’ development in a village where there have already been two new housing schemes.
Dr Kevin Corbett, who purchased the old school two years ago, said: “I don’t think anyone expected this decision. We thought it was a done deal and there was nothing more we could do.
"We’re absolutely bowled over. It was like all our Christmases came at once when we found out.”
Now, residents are wondering what Northumberland Estates’ next step will be – with many suspecting an appeal will be lodged.
Colin Barnes, director of planning and development at Northumberland Estates: “We will take some time to look at the reasons for refusal, but on the face of it an appeal or a revised scheme are both options, as permission was previously granted on part of the site.”
Council senior planning officer James Hudson, considered the development to be acceptable in principle in policy terms but noted ‘there is not considered to be a pressing need to seek to permit additional housing in the area’
However, objections were raised by the council’s built heritage officer about the impact on the setting of listed buildings to the south.
It was noted: ‘We continue to believe the proposed development area contributes to an edge of settlement character and that it is inevitable there would be a degree of suburbanisation to the setting of the listed buildings’.
Mr Hudson concluded: ‘It is considered the proposal would give rise to ‘less than substantial harm’ to the setting of Grade II listed buildings without any or limited public benefits to outweigh the harm. Furthermore, there is insufficient evidence submitted as part of the application to assess the impact on localised surface water flooding.”