The bid is seeking planning permission for the change of use of farmland to site five shepherd’s huts and a toilet/shower block on the area of grassland that overlooks the Black Lough, with the nearest settlement being Edlingham.
The site is described in the application documents as a ‘relatively secluded plateau slightly higher than the lake-shore, and about 1,500 metres from the B6341, and not visible to traffic using that road’. It would be accessed using an existing farm track.
Put forward as a diversification scheme, the planning statement says: ‘Considering the vast expanse of land owned by the applicant (David Shaw), the proposals will take up less than 1% inclusive of the farm track.
‘When viewed in the context of the overall visible impact, the proposals can only be described as minimal.’
It adds that the land has ‘limitations’ from an agricultural economic view.
However, the scheme, which was submitted in March 2019 before being updated later in the year, was rejected under delegated powers by Northumberland County Council planning officers in December.
This was on five grounds, including that the proposal ‘has failed to address concerns to highway safety in relation to vehicular access’ and that it ‘lies in an unsustainable location with no services or facilities and is some distance from local facilities, where access to and from the site would be reliant on private car’.
In addition, there are concerns about the ‘detrimental impact to the the open countryside’, that it ‘fails to protect and enhance the distinctive landscape character of Black Lough and the wider former district of Alnwick’ and that it ‘fails to demonstrate how it would protect and enhance the biodiversity and geodiversity of the district’.
Edlingham Parish Council had objected ‘as the proposed access is believed to be dangerous for vehicles entering and leaving the site’.
However, the final decision will now fall to a government-appointed planning inspector after an appeal was launched in May.