Road-safety fears lead to rejection of home on Northumberland coast

The junction of the access track and Dunstanburgh Road. Picture from Google
The junction of the access track and Dunstanburgh Road. Picture from Google

Councillors were sympathetic to a couple wanting to build their ‘dream home’ in a north Northumberland coastal village, but felt they had to follow the advice on road safety.

A second attempt for a new house in Craster, which was refused by a single vote in the summer, was still considered unacceptable by planners and council officers when it went back before the North Northumberland Local Area Council on Thursday (December 20).

This time, it was rejected by six votes to two on the grounds of road-safety and its impact on the area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), with the highways issues being the major talking point at the meeting.

The proposal was for a single-storey property, on land west of 15 Dunstanburgh Road, which would use the sloping site to incorporate a split-level, open-plan internal arrangement.

The position of the house on the plot had been moved further down the slope, while other changes included a lower overall height, lower roof pitch as well as changing the materials for the windows and external cladding.

Nonetheless, the AONB partnership and Craster Parish Council maintained their objections and planners said the latest bid should be refused for the same reasons as before.

Highways officer Graham Fairs said that the access, off Dunstanburgh Road, is ‘so substandard that it could never be safe and suitable, within the grounds of the planning framework’.

Moving refusal, Coun Wendy Pattison said: “I do have sympathy for the applicants because they want to live in Craster and it seems like a dream home.

“But – and I’m not saying it would happen – I could never forgive myself if someone was injured at that junction.”

Coun Georgina Hill, who seconded the motion, added: “I don’t enjoy this and it would be great if there was a way that you could get your house, but public safety has to come first.”

Earlier in the meeting, Chapel Row resident David Bonser set out a strong case about how the highways issues meant the application should not be approved and he was backed up by Coun Margaret Brooks, from Craster Parish Council.

“One couple’s dream home on a greenfield site should not take precedent over community safety,” he said.

However, applicant Michael Heslop was equally convincing in outlining why the objections don’t stack up, pointing to the number of vehicles which already use the access track and the fact that the site is currently used for parking.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service