Unpopular homes bid finally gets green light

A 3D view of the proposed housing scheme.
A 3D view of the proposed housing scheme.

A controversial scheme to build eight new properties in a north Northumberland village has been given the go-ahead on appeal.

Northumberland Estates has successfully appealed against the decision of Northumberland County Council’s north area planning committee to refuse the scheme in June last year.

The application for eight houses on land between Down House and Old School House, on Lesbury’s Riverside, was approved by planning inspector George Arrowsmith.

In his report, he explained that the main issue related to whether the proposal ‘would fail to preserve the character and/or appearance of a conservation area’.

He concluded that the development ‘would preserve the existing character and appearance of the conservation area’ and ‘does not constitute overdevelopment’. He was also satisfied that it wouldn’t cause ‘unacceptable overlooking or loss of privacy’.

The approval marks the end of a long-running saga, including three separate planning applications.

The original application in 2012 would have seen the demolition of three existing dwellings, the post office and outbuildings to be replaced by 20 new homes and a new post-office building.

It was condemned by residents, sparking a 400-name petition, while the parish council unanimously objected and it was withdrawn in September 2012.

Then in February 2013, significantly amended plans were submitted, for the demolition of one outbuilding and the construction of eight new homes. This was turned down by the committee in August.

The third and successful proposal was still for eight homes, but they had been redesigned and the outbuilding would remain.