Landowner appeal launched after proposal for housing development for Northumberland village refused by planners

An appeal hearing has taken place over contentious plans for new homes on the western edge of a north Northumberland coastal village.

Wednesday, 17th July 2019, 7:53 pm
The application for seven detached homes on land west of Station Road in Embleton
The application for seven detached homes on land west of Station Road in Embleton

The application, for seven detached homes on land west of Station Road in Embleton, sparked 51 objections from neighbours as well as concerns from the parish council and neighbourhood plan steering group when it was lodged last year.

But it was unanimously refused by the North Northumberland Local Area Council in June on the recommendation of county council planning officers.

The reasons for refusal were that the scheme would be ‘an incursion into the open countryside’, which ‘fails to recognise the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside’.

It also ‘fails to protect and enhance the distinctive landscape character of Embleton and the wider former district of Alnwick’.

At that meeting, the applicant’s agent, Rod Hepplewhite, described it as ‘a travesty’, claiming his clients had been led to believe approval would be recommended, so it was perhaps no surprise that landowner David Robertson appealed the decision.

At the public hearing on Tuesday, July 16, planning inspector Jillian Rann set out that the main issue is ‘whether the site is a suitable location for housing having regard to the effect of the proposed development on the character and appearance of the appeal site and its surroundings’.

Defending the refusal, county council planning officer James Bellis said: “We feel this would go against the grain of development in the rest of Embleton, building on that side of Station Road.”

The inspector also heard that Station Road is the proposed settlement boundary for the village in the neighbourhood plan, which is due to be submitted at the end of the month.

Peter Biggers, representing supporters of the neighbourhood plan and other residents – a number of who were in attendance at the hearing, said this should be given a lot of weight in the decision as there were no objections to the settlement boundary during consultation, not even from Mr Robertson.

The inspector will issue her decision in due course.