Plans for £12 million development at Northumberland golf club face opposition

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A proposed £12million development in a Northumberland village is being opposed by the parish council.

An outline application has been submitted by Moorlands Holdings (NE) Ltd for a housing, leisure and retail development on the Belford Golf Club site.

Owners David and Michael Ratliff say the scheme could create at least 50 jobs and breathe fresh life into the village.

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However, parish councillors have questioned whether there is demand for the development and raised several planning concerns, including road safety, loss of wildlife habitat, flooding and the impact on services infrastructure and the Grade I listed Belford Hall

Belford Golf Club.Belford Golf Club.
Belford Golf Club.

Cllr Julian Cunningham said: “I think the housing being proposed would become second homes and holiday lets and I think we’ve already got quite a lot of those in our local area.

Cllr Ian Carruthers complained that the current golf club had been ‘neglected’ and let go ‘to rack and ruin’.

Cllr Steve White added: “Is there a need for these facilities in Belford? Would it attract anyone to use them from outside Belford?

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“I just don’t see it as a good thing for the village. I think it sends Belford on the way to becoming another Beadnell.”

It was also noted that a neighbourhood plan is also currently being developed.

Cllr Kerry Noble said: "I know it’s not a planning consideration until it’s adopted but we’ve already agreed as a parish council that no further houses should be built beyond the village line (settlement boundary) so we can’t really go back on it. It’s an inappropriate development within the conservation area.

"We’re getting inundated (with housing) and we’ve got to draw a line somewhere. It’s a village, not an expanding industrial town.”

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Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson, chairman, added: “Putting aside the neighbourhood plan and the black line around the village, I wouldn’t be against a more sympathetic scheme at that end of the village but this is too much.”

He was also concerned at the absence of an affordable housing element.

If approved, the nine hole course would remain with much of the proposed redevelopment around the existing clubhouse.

The scheme comprises 37 new homes - 11 within a walled garden on the north west corner of the site and 12 detached properties and 14 bungalows on and around the driving range field.

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There would be a supermarket/farm shop, retail units, a football/multi sports pitch, two tennis courts, an extended clubhouse, improved driving range, bowling green, play park, micro-brewery and holiday lodges.

There have been 26 objections lodged and one letter of support.

When the scheme was submitted last month, David Ratliff said: “We are delighted that, after some years assessing needs, benefits and ideas for land use that the final conclusion has been submitted to Northumberland County Council.

“We have designed a scheme providing a raft of facilities never previously provided in Belford.

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“The village has suffered a downturn from days when it had 17 shops and pubs.

“At least 50 jobs will be created and we expect to commence all immediately if permission is granted. We are very optimistic.”

A final decision will be taken by Northumberland County Council.

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