Beadnell housing scheme is approved

The promise of permanent, rather than second, homes led councillors to approve plans for new housing on the north Northumberland coast.

Thursday, 5th January 2017, 08:30 am
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 12:01 pm
The site of Northumberland Estates' outline plans for 45 homes to the south of Kennedy Green.

The section 106 legal agreement for Northumberland Estates’ outline application for 45 homes on land south of Kennedy Green in Beadnell will mean that all of the new properties would be secured for occupation by permanent residents.

The scheme was still heavily opposed, sparking almost 200 objections as well as opposition from Beadnell Parish Council, and at Tuesday’s meeting of the county council’s strategic planning committee, it was clear that opponents do not feel that the restriction can be enforced.

Objector Carole Field said: “Can you really ignore the wishes of people who care so passionately about the future of our beautiful village?”

However, following questions to the planning officers and county solicitor, all but one of the councillors was persuaded to support the scheme.

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The proposed site is within the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the planning officer’s report explains that ‘planning permission should be refused for major developments in such areas except in exceptional circumstances and where it can be demonstrated they are in the public interest’.

Given the scale of second and holiday-home ownership in Beadnell, it is the proposed restriction of the properties as permanent residences which means the development would meet this exceptional circumstances test. This is only after it was agreed that this would apply to all of the new houses and in perpetuity.

Cllr Gordon Castle said: “The crucial thing is the apparently enforceable condition of permanent residency. Without that, I would not be able to support it.”

He added: “Officers will be expected to enforce these conditions meticulously.”

Cllr Ian Swithenbank emphasised the point that any appeal may result in approval without any restrictions.

The development would comprise 13 two-bedroom homes, 23 three-bedroom dwellings and nine four-bedroom units. Seven of the two-bed and two of the three-bed properties would be affordable homes – a 20 per cent provision on site.

A new access road would join from Swinhoe Road about 320 metres west of the site.

As well as the affordable housing and the occupancy restriction, other requirements of the approval would be £25,000 for a seasonal dog warden and information boards to mitigate possible impacts on birds in the nearby sensitive areas plus £5,500 to extend the 30mph limit westwards on Swinhoe Road.

After the meeting, Cllr John Woodman, the area’s ward member, said: “The developer is making a contribution towards the cost of a dog warden. After a growth in concerns about the behaviour of dog owners, this could be helpful.”

He highlighted this as one of three lessons to be learned from this application, alongside exceptional circumstances being necessary to allow major development in the AONB and that there is no need for more major development in Beadnell in particular.