Green light for alterations to development

An application to vary some of the houses on an under-contruction estate has been approved despite fears about its impact on neighbours.

Friday, 8th July 2016, 09:50 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th July 2016, 14:51 pm
County Hall, Morpeth, headquarters for Northumberland County Council.

It relates to an ongoing development on a site between Tweedmouth and East Ord, which is bordered by Goldstone to the south, Cornhill Road to the north and Mansefield Road to the east.

This particular variation, which went before last Tuesday’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s planning committee, relates to five properties, which are located to the rear of properties on Mansefield Road.

Originally granted outline consent for a larger residential development, planning permission was granted for 58 homes in November 2007.

Since then, there have been a series of applications to vary house types on the site, in response to changing market conditions.

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One of the previous bids to vary the plans had initially been refused, but this was later overturned on appeal.

What had sparked most of the concerns in this latest application that among the changes is the replacement of several dormer bungalows with two-storey properties.

Jim Smith, councillor for Berwick East but speaking as a resident of Mansefield Road, said two-storey homes would ‘totally overlook the one-storey properties on Mansefield Road’, leading to a loss of privacy and light.

He added that while the ridge heights of the proposed new house types would be not be that much higher, the changes in orientation would mean that the windows would overlook the homes on Mansefield Road.

Coun Smith also criticised it as ‘development by stealth’, saying that the scheme dated back 20 years and the original idea was to have single-storey properties backing onto Mansefield Road.

Coun Isabel Hunter, also objected to the changes as ward member for Berwick West with Ord, saying: “To some, this may not seem much of a difference, however, these will be erected on land adjacent to the bungalows on Mansefield Road.”

Her suggested reasons for refusal were over-development, loss of privacy, overlooking and shadowing.

However, the committee voted by seven to two, with two abstentions, to approve the changes.

Coun Trevor Thorne said: “One-and-a-half-storey properties next to a row of bungalows is good planning, it’s sensible. But the planning officer is telling us that this extra 0.4 metres is not going to take away any privacy or light substantially enough to warrant refusal.”

Coun Andrew Tebbutt added: “I remember the original debate and the issue of the relationship of these houses with Mansefield Road was crucial.

“But we have to have clear planning reasons for refusing it and we have been given clear advice by the planning officer that we would not succeed.”