Plans for homes in Northumberland village rejected on legal technicality

An appeal over a refused housing scheme in a north Northumberland village has been unsuccessful – but only due to a legal technicality.

By Ben O'Connell
Tuesday, 30 July, 2019, 16:45
The site where 40 homes were proposed in Longframlington, for which an appeal has now been dismissed.

Planning inspector Chris Baxter has dismissed the appeal made by Rosemary and Claire Armstrong against Northumberland County Council’s decision to reject an outline bid for 40 new homes on land to the south of Lightpipe Farm in Longframlington.

The proposals were first thrown out last summer by councillors, who said that part of the village should not be ‘sacrificed’ to gain road upgrades.

Planning officers said that the social benefit of a full realignment of the nearby A697/C106 junction outweighed the environmental impacts, but the scheme was rejected by eight votes to zero with one abstention at the North Northumberland Local Area Council meeting last August.

The garage site

Mr Baxter concluded that the proposed development ‘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’.

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

Elsewhere in the village, an appeal has now been submitted over rejected plans to replace the former Westroad Garage, on Rothbury Road, with nine houses.

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The application, which sparked more than 50 objections, was unanimously refused at the February meeting of the North Northumberland Local Area Council.

The site, which is owned by Tustain Motors, was until recently used as a car showroom and workshops, but market conditions led to its services being transferred to the company’s Alnwick base.

The proposals are for four four-bedroom properties and five three-bedroom homes, with two to be accessed from the existing entrance on Rothbury Road, another from Church Street and the other five via a new access from the estate road of Cairn Park.

As previously reported, an appeal has also been lodged for an application for 24 dwellings on land west of Hawthorns, across the A697 from the cemetery.

Described as the second phase of the 10 homes being developed on the adjoining site, the refusal decision was made under delegated authority by planning officers in February.

The reasons were that it ‘would result in an obtrusive development in the rural landscape’ and that potential issues regarding drainage discharge had not been ‘appropriately addressed’.