Plans for new 45ft salt barn dome in Northumberland village set for approval

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Plans for a 45-foot-high salt dome in a Northumberland village could get the green light next week.

The local authority’s own bid, for a new barn to replace its existing, open, road-salt storage bay at its highways depot in Otterburn, is recommended for approval when it goes before the Tuesday, July 7, meeting of Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee.

As previously reported, Otterburn Parish Council agreed unanimously at its meeting last December to object to the application, due to the impact on nearby residents, having also opposed the local authority’s bid for a different barn back in 2016, which was later rejected.

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However, following the submission of additional information by the county council, setting out mitigation measures and the fact that the Otterburn depot is the only feasible site for this facility, the parish council decided by February not to object, on a majority basis, although it has raised a number of points and concerns.

Northumberland County Council’s new salt barn in Blyth, which is of a comparable height to the one planned for OtterburnNorthumberland County Council’s new salt barn in Blyth, which is of a comparable height to the one planned for Otterburn
Northumberland County Council’s new salt barn in Blyth, which is of a comparable height to the one planned for Otterburn

There remain seven objections from residents though, with one, Emma Anderson, saying: ‘I do not accept that serious, far-reaching inquiries have been made to find an alternative location.

‘The negative effects on amenity, the detrimental effect of the proposed development on the character of the local area and the negative and adverse visual impact of the development are all against the application.

‘The proposed salt dome, through its excessive height and industrial appearance, would be harmful to the character of the residential area in which it would be located.’

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The planning officer’s report states: ‘Overall, there would be some harm arising from the development due to the size of the proposed building.

‘However, when balanced against the requirements of the building, which ultimately dictates its size, and when taking into account the amendments to the scheme, the harm is not considered to be significant enough to justify refusal of the application.’

On residential amenity, it adds that it ‘would be sited away from the boundaries of the highway depot site in order to lessen the impact of the proposed salt barn on the neighbouring residential properties and to allow for sufficient separation distances to be achieved’.

A spokesman for the county council has previously said that operating winter services from Otterburn ‘is critical to effective treatment of roads in the large surrounding area and up to the Scottish Borders’, while stating that alternative locations which have been explored since the 2016 application have ‘a significant impact on response times in salting the surrounding road network’.

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