Planning decision 'flawed' complains Ulgham Parish Council

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A complaint has been lodged by a rural parish council over the recent handling of a planning application.

Ulgham Parish Council has written to Northumberland County Council with concerns about the authority’s approval for a new access to a housing development on land north of South Croft Stables.

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Cllr Jim Scott, parish council chairman, said: “We, Ulgham Parish Council have objected to this decision on several grounds and believe that the planning committee were not given a balanced report by the planning officer.

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The access route was approved despite local opposition.The access route was approved despite local opposition.
The access route was approved despite local opposition.

“A highways report outlines significant concerns and recommended either the withdrawal or refusal of the application. Sadly, it appears that no mention of this report was given to the committee.

"Furthermore, the committee consisted of just three out of a possible 13 members and while the decision was carried unanimously – it was only by three members.”

The highways report stated that ‘a new access with no purpose, that would prejudice other planning permissions, on a classified road resulting in an unjustified urbanising effect in the open countryside is therefore not supported and forms part of our reasons for recommending refusal’.

Cllr Scott said: “The planning officer states that the highway serving the site is lightly used by traffic yet the report clearly disputes this stating that the C124 is not by definition a quiet rural lane but is in fact, a classified route between the A197 and the B1337.

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“The planning officer’s report also states that the new access would not, despite the removal of a hedgerow and additional hard standing, cause harm to the visual character of the open countryside. This we dispute as it constitutes unnecessary development in the Green Belt.

“In our opinion, this decision is flawed.”

However, formal objections cannot be made once it has been through the planning process.

A spokesperson for Northumberland County Council said: "This application was approved by Castle Morpeth Local Area Council last month.

"The report concluded that the proposals represent an acceptable form of development that accords with both local and national planning policy.

"The securing of a footpath linking the development site with the settlement of Ulgham is integral and promotes sustainable connections in line with both local and national planning policy.”