Spittal plans agreed, despite flooding fears

Plans for four new homes on the former Seabank chalet site in Spittal have been approved.

Friday, 28th July 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 11:50 am
Spittal embankment

The application received the green light, despite opposition from Berwick councillors at Northumberland County Council’s local area council.

Coun Georgina Hill, Independent member for Berwick East, expressing concerns about the flood risk, questioned whether due diligence had been done by planning officers.

“There was a big landslide near there six or seven years ago and Network Rail had to do a substantial amount to shore up the embankment,” Coun Hill told the meeting, held at the Jubilee Club in Spittal on Thursday.

“I have reservations whether due diligence has been done. As councillors, it’s our responsibility to make sure that is the case.

“If there are any future issues with flooding then we are accountable for how we vote.”

She received support from Coun Catherine Seymour, Conservative member for Berwick North.

However, Network Rail and flooding experts had offered no objection and the rest of the committee were satisfied with the officer recommendation to approve the application, by Galashiels-based James Hewit, c/o Ferguson Planning.

Coun Jeff Watson, moving approval, said: “I don’t see how anyone can think due diligence has not been done. Officers have said they have spoken to Network Rail and we have to trust them.”

Earlier, Berwick resident Brian Darling objected to the plan, saying it was not in context with the surrounding area. He also complained that the committee was making decisions on a local plan which is nearly 20 years old.

Tim Ferguson, the applicant’s agent, said: “There are no objections by statutory consultees and the principle of residential development on this site is accepted.

“The proposal is a sustanable development, we are not impacting on parking or access and there is no significant environmental impact.”

Four-bedroom homes over two storeys are planned, with the living area upstairs to take advantage of the fantastic views out to sea. Units of contemporary appearance are proposed, varying in form dependant on how they sit across the hillside.

The site has been vacant since the mid-1980s.