Retrospective plan to convert Newton-by-the-Sea cottage into serviced accommodation for The Joiners Arms is refused

A retrospective planning application to convert a cottage into serviced accommodation for the neighbouring pub has been refused.
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The conversion of White Cottage at Newton-by-the-Sea into a four bedroom property for use by The Joiners Arms was turned down by Northumberland County Council’s north area planning committee.

An application by Duncan Fisher of Newton Hall (Northumberland) Ltd sought retrospective change of use permission for works already carried out.

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The former lounge, kitchen and dining areas of White Cottage have been converted to bedrooms, whilst at first floor level the internal layout has been amended to create two large rooms where there were previously three.

White Cottage and The Joiners Arms. Picture: GoogleWhite Cottage and The Joiners Arms. Picture: Google
White Cottage and The Joiners Arms. Picture: Google

A decision was deferred in June in the face of objections from the parish council and Northumberland Coast National Landscape (formerly Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). Both felt the application did not differ in principle from a 2020 application which was later withdrawn.

There were also three letters of objection including submissions on behalf of The Newton Trust.

Planning officers had recommended approval with senior planning officer Jon Sharp reporting that an expansion of a thriving business was supported through both national and local planning policies.

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In his opinion, the conversion of the cottage to serviced accommodation, whilst potentially adding to existing parking and noise problems, would not have a significant impact over and above existing concerns.

He also noted that ‘tourism in Northumberland has developed into a year round activity and the proposals would tap into this growing market by establishing new serviced holiday accommodation of a type which is not commonly available in the area’.

However, committee members refused the application on the grounds of overdevelopment.

The decision notice states: ‘The proposals would lead to overdevelopment of the village of High Newton with consequent impacts upon the tranquillity of the village and the Northumberland Coast National Landscape in which it sits.’

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A planning report on the applicant’s behalf had stressed the economic value of The Joiners Arms to the local area, providing jobs and spin-off employment. It also warned that for its success to continue, ‘the business must be allowed to evolve and develop its customer offering’.