Plan to convert garages into bungalows in Felton faces opposition

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Plans to convert garages into bungalows for older residents in a Northumberland village are facing opposition.

Northumberland County Council (NCC) wants to carry out the scheme on the Mouldshaugh Lane Garages in Felton.

However, there is opposition from current tenants, some of whom have had their garage for more than 40 years.

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Felton Parish Council has also written a letter of objection expressing concern that it would impact on social interaction in a tight-knit community.

The Mouldshaugh Lane garages in Felton.The Mouldshaugh Lane garages in Felton.
The Mouldshaugh Lane garages in Felton.

“The garage community acts as an informal Men’s Shed space in which male residents come together to work and chat,” writes the parish council.

Concerns have also been raised about the loss of parking.

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"Car parking in Felton is in very short supply and does not meet demand,” the parish council adds.

"The garages are not underused or redundant: most garages are tenanted. The loss of the valued garage community facility is therefore unnecessary and unjustifiable.”

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Parish council vice chairman John Cruden adds: "The garage space has 20 parking spaces and the proposed plan will reduce that to four, a loss of 16.

"This will add a significant burden to the already identified parking difficulties on South Lane and South View. NCC have looked into ways to reduce the parking issue but this will dramatically worsen it.

The proposals emerged after the council carried out a housing needs assessment which revealed a need for accessible bungalows in rural areas.

It is proposing the Husk concept developed by Tyneside architect Russell Edwards. The garage structure is retained but a new section is fabricated offsite and added.

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The county council carried out a public consultation last summer and has made alterations to the original proposal, reducing the number of bungalows from five to four.

A planning report states: "The conversion of these existing garages allows for the sustainable re-use of a brown field site and maximises the number of bungalows provided ensuring that the small brownfield site is a viable project.

“Following the public consultation we have addressed concerns raised from a group of garage tenants who need to garage their vehicles. We have redesigned the scheme so that only Blocks A & B are being converted with Block C remaining untouched. This will allow NCC to allocate this block solely to residents who require garaging for their main vehicle.”