Plans look set to be approved for 40 new homes in Northumberland village

A scheme for 40 homes in a Northumberland village, where new housing has come thick and fast in recent years, is back before councillors this week.

Thursday, 21st November 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 21st November 2019, 12:07 pm

One plan has already been turned down, but a second outline application for approximately 40 properties on a site at the northern end of Longframlington, to the south of Lightpipe Farm, is being recommended for approval.

At last August’s meeting of the North Northumberland Local Area Council, planning officers said that the social benefit of a full realignment of the A697/C106 junction outweighed the environmental impacts of the new properties nearby.

But members wholeheartedly disagreed, rejecting the scheme by eight votes to zero (with one abstention) and saying that part of the village should not be ‘sacrificed’ to gain road upgrades.

The site of the proposed homes in Longframlington.

The applicants, Rosemary and Claire Armstrong, lodged an appeal, but this was dismissed by planning inspector Chris Baxter during the summer – but only due to a legal technicality.

The committee had refused the bid on the grounds of over-development, changing the character of the village and adverse environmental impact, which would not be outweighed by the benefits proposed.

However, Mr Baxter concluded that the proposal ‘would not have a harmful effect on the character and appearance of the surrounding area’ and that ‘there is no overriding evidence before me to indicate that the proposal would have a significantly harmful environmental effect on the area’.

The reason that he still dismissed the appeal was because a completed section 106 legal agreement was not submitted – despite the applicants agreeing to the necessary contributions towards affordable housing, education, healthcare and the junction works via a non-binding heads of terms document.

The junction of the A697 and the C106 Alnwick Fords road.

For this reason, the recommendation to the meeting on Thursday, November 21, is that members are minded to approve the application, subject to the completion of a section 106 agreement to secure £72,000 for education, £33,300 for healthcare and the provision of 17% affordable housing on site. The junction works will be subject to a separate agreement and secured by condition.

The scheme has sparked another objection from Longframlington Parish Council as well as from nine neighbours.

Meanwhile, an appeal for non-determination – not dealing with the application quickly enough – has already been submitted and is still ongoing, so the decision could be taken out of the hands of councillors anyway.