Agenda and draft minutes

Castle Morpeth Local Area Council - Monday, 12th July, 2021 4.00 pm

Venue: Meeting Space - Block 1, Floor 2 - County Hall. View directions

Contact: Lesley Little 

Note: Due to Covid restrictions only those who have registered and are actively participating will be allowed access to the meeting. Any member of the press or public may view the proceedings of this meeting live on our YouTube channel at Any questions from the public should be submitted to by 12 noon on the working day before the meeting. 

No. Item




J Foster, Vice-Chair (Planning) (in the Chair) outlined the procedure which would be followed at the virtual meeting and of the changes to the public speaking protocol.





Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Jackson and Jones.



MINUTES pdf icon PDF 359 KB

Minutes of the meeting of the Castle Morpeth Local Area Council held on 14 June 2021 as circulated, to be confirmed as a true record and signed by the Chair. 



RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held of the Castle Morpeth Local Area Council held on Monday 14 June 2021, as circulated, be confirmed as a true record and signed by the Chair.




To request the committee to decide the planning applications attached to this report using the powers delegated to it.   


Please note that printed letters of objection/support are no longer circulated with the agenda but are available on the Council’s website at 




The report requested the Committee to decide the planning applications attached to the report using the powers delegated to it.  Members were reminded of the principles which should govern their consideration of the applications, the procedure for handling representations, the requirement of conditions and the need for justifiable reasons for the granting of permission or refusal of planning applications. 


RESOLVED that the information be noted.



20/01242/FUL pdf icon PDF 369 KB

Conversion of existing shop (use class E(a)) to form residential dwelling including external alterations to existing attached dwelling (amended plans received 26/04/2021)

Belmont, East Road, Longhorsley, NE65 8SY



Conversion of existing shop (use class E(a)) to form residential dwelling including external alterations to existing attached dwelling (amended plans received 26/04/2021) 

Belmont, East Road, Longhorsley, NE65 8SY


It was confirmed that Members had no questions on the site visit videos which had been circulated.  R Soulsby, Planning officer introduced the application to the Committee with the aid of a power point presentation.  Members were advised that one further objection had been received raising concerns regarding the loss of the retail unit and the use of UPVC fenestration within the building.   It was set out in the report that the applicant intended to replace the UPVC fenestration with timber sliding sash windows in keeping with the aesthetic of the Conservation Area.


Mr A Etchells addressed the Committee speaking in objection to the application.  His comments included the following:-


·       Mr Etchells was a member of the working group which had developed the Longhorsley Neighbourhood Plan which had been through full scrutiny before being confirmed as valid by Northumberland County Council and adopted in October 2018 and the policies contained in this Plan should be followed.

·       There had been a commercial use in the building since it was built in 1875 by the Bell family of Be-Ro fame and it had most recently been used as a successfully hairdressing business, had provided a useful community service and more importantly had provided employment for three people.

·       As well as renting the commercial property, the hairdresser had rented the residential part of the building until being given notice to quit in September 2019.  There was no financial hardship reason for her leaving in January 2020 and she did so only after being advised she had to be out of the building by September 2020.

·       Following receipt of the notice two people working with the tenant found alternative employment and at that point the tenant had texted the owners to state that she would have difficulty in covering the rent with only the income generated by one person rather than by three.  The text had been quoted out of context to give the inaccurate impression that the business was in financial hardship.  Unfortunately this misrepresentation had been accepted as fact and had resulted in a material inaccuracy in the Case Officer’s report. 

·       It was accepted that the owner would need to upgrade the energy performance of the commercial property but it was not accepted that this would cost more than £67,000. 

·       Policy LNP8 of the Neighbourhood Plan stated that the applicant had to demonstrate that the exiting commercial use was no longer economically viable and it had been marketed for at least six months without an appropriate offer being received.   Members must accept that it hadn’t been marketed for at least six months as this was fact and the applicant had not offered any evidence that it had been.

·       The application must comply with all elements of the Neighbourhood Plan and if this is ignored what message did send out about the importance and validity  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.


20/03423/REM pdf icon PDF 328 KB

Reserved Matters application for appearance, scale, layout and landscaping for 2no. dwellings on approved planning application 20/00385/OUT

Greenfield House, Hepscott, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 6LH



Reserved Matters application for appearance, scale, layout and landscaping for 2no. dwellings on approved planning application 20/00385/OUT 

Greenfield House, Hepscott, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 6LH 


There were no questions in relation to the site visit videos which had been circulated in advance of the meeting.


R Soulsby, Planning Officer introduced the application to the Committee with the aid of a power point presentation.  He advised that one further objection had been received from a neighbour concerning the loss of privacy, removal of trees, flooding, ecological impacts and illegal works being undertaken on site without planning permission.  Members were reminded that the application was for reserved matters only in relation to appearance, landscaping, layout and scale of the development.


S Ashmore addressed the Committee speaking in objection to the application. Her comments included the following:-


·       Her concern related to bats.  She had contacted her local Councillor regarding a court case where Bellway had been fined over £600,000 for destroying a breeding site or resting place of a European protected species.  All bats were a protected species in the UK and there was a parallel with Greenfield House where a roof had been removed destroying a maternal bat roost, 25 plus mature trees demolished thus destroying habitat. This was on the 13 December 2020. The Director of Planning had stated he was aware of the Greenwich Court case and was looking into it.

·       The Planner said that enforcement action was currently underway and on the 17 May 2021 the Director of Planning said he would get an update for her.

·       On 8 June 2021 she asked if a Natural England European Protected Species Development Licence been applied for and was advised to contact Natural England for confirmation.

·       She had also asked if 5 bat boxes had been erected, to which the response had been, not that I am aware of, and advised that the applicant had not submitted this condition for discharge and the enforcement team were monitoring the site.

·       Along with 3 bat boxes to be provided, these were all pre-commencement conditions as outlined in Condition 9.

·       In answer to her question if bat friendly treatment had been used on the new wooden fence and was a permit from the Environment Agency sought for work close to the river, she had been advised that they were unsure if bat friendly treatment had been used on the boundary fence, however the fence had not formed part of the planning approval and would likely have been undertaken under permitted development rights afforded to the property.

·       She had questioned if lighting adhered to external lighting recommended in accordance with Bats and Lighting in the UK 2018. The response had been that all the works had been undertaken on an existing dwelling and did not form part of the outline permission.


PA Colver also addressed the Committee speaking in objection to the application.  Her comments included the following:-


·       She was objecting as the immediate neighbour as the proposed properties were enormous and would dwarf the existing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.



For Members’ information to report the progress of planning appeals.  This is a monthly report and relates to appeals throughout all 5 Local Area Council Planning Committee areas and covers appeals of Strategic Planning Committee.



RESOLVED that the information be noted.


A short break was held at this point and the meeting reconvened at 5.23 pm with Councillor J Beynon, in the Chair.




To reply to any questions received from members of the public which have been submitted in writing in advance of the meeting. Questions can be asked about issues for which the Council has a responsibility. (Public question times take place on a bimonthly basis at Local Area Council meetings: in January, March, May, July, September and November each year.)


As agreed by the County Council in February 2012, the management of local public question times is at the discretion of the chair of the committee.


Please note however that a question may possibly be rejected if it requires the disclosure of any categories of confidential or exempt information, namely information:

  1. relating to any individual;
  2. which is likely to reveal the identity of an individual;
  3. relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person
  4. relating to any labour relations matters/negotiations;
  5. restricted to legal proceedings
  6. about enforcement/enacting legal orders
  7. relating to the prevention, investigation of prosecution of crime.


?      is defamatory, frivolous or offensive;

?      it is substantially the same as a question which has been put at a meeting of this or another County Council committee in the past six months;

?      the request repeats an identical or very similar question from the same person;

?      the cost of providing an answer is disproportionate;

?      it is being separately addressed through the Council's complaints process;

?      it is not about a matter for which the Council has a responsibility or which affects the county;

?      it relates to planning, licensing and/or other regulatory applications

?      it is a question that town/parish councils would normally be expected to raise through other channels.


If the Chair is of the opinion that a question is one which for whatever reason, cannot properly be asked in an area meeting, he/she will disallow it and inform the resident of his/her decision.


Copies of any written answers (without individuals' personal contact details) will be provided for members after the meeting and also be publicly available.


Democratic Services will confirm the status of the progress on any previously requested written answers and follow up any related actions requested by the Local Area Council.



No public questions had been submitted.




This item is to:


(a)      Receive any new petitions: to receive any new petitions. The lead petitioner is  entitled to briefly introduce their petition by providing a statement in writing, and a response to any petitions received will then be organised for a future meeting;


(b)      Consider reports on petitions previously received: no reports are due to be considered at this meeting;


(c)      Receive any updates on petitions for which a report was previously   considered: any updates will be verbally reported at the meeting.



No new petitions had been received and there were no updates on previous petitions.




To receive a verbal update from the Area Managers from Technical Services and Neighbourhood Services in attendance about any key recent, ongoing and/or future planned Local Services work for the attention of members of the Local Area Council, who will also then have the opportunity to raise issues with the Area Managers.


The Area Managers have principal responsibility for highway services and environmental services, such as refuse collection, street cleansing and grounds maintenance, within the geographic boundaries of the Local Area Council.





P Jones, Service Director, Local Services advised that Highways continued to operate in a covid safe way and it was expected that controls would continue when the Country came out of restrictions to safeguard members of staff as transmission in the County was high.  


Reactive maintenance was still catching up on the backlog after the winter period with extra resources put in and it was expected to be back on top of this by September.  Additional resources had also been put into gulley work as there was some backlog. 


There was a large capital programme in the Castle Morpeth area and the team had been increased to deal with this.  He advised that the former supervisor and manager Ali Johnstone had retired and he wished to thank him for the work and assistance he had provided during his long service with the Council and wished him well for the future.


The Service Director provided information on the progress of schemes within the Castle Morpeth area.   In response to a question from Councillor Dodd in relation to the progress of the 20mph scheme in Belsay he advised that an email response would be provided.   Councillor Dodd also highlighted that he had received reports of an issue on Thornhill Road in Ponteland with elderly residents walking on the road and falling over speed humps which had not been marked with paint. 


Councillor Foster advised that a traffic safety scheme on the A1147 had received some mixed reviews with the residents who had been plagued by speeding traffic welcoming the restrictions as it had definitely slowed the speed of traffic on that stretch of the road and had broken a speeding circuit and she thanked the officers for this work. 


Councillor Dunn reminded the Service Director that a petition had been put in for a 20 mph speed restriction in Ellington which had been refused two years ago.  Designs were still awaited for a 30 mph scheme through the LTP following this petition and another accident had occurred recently.  The Service Director advised that there was a programme for 20 mph schemes outside schools which was ongoing and as part of the consultations there were additional demands coming in for larger areas, however this could dilute the benefits and key outcomes were needed in the relevant area.  Information would be provided on the progress of the 30 mph scheme.


In response to a concern raised in respect of the slip road off the A1 towards Stannington Village and members of the public trying to exit Stannington the same way and having to turn when traffic came off the A1 towards them, the Service Director advised that signage was in line with that required by Highways England.  Some CCTV had been undertaken but had not identified an issue.  Incidents were sporadic but the Council was aware of some and had raised the issue with Highways England as it was a slip road off a trunk road and therefore their responsibility.  In response to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.



To make appointments to outside body organisations within the Local Area Council’s remit.  A list of outside bodies is attached to the agenda for consideration. 



Appointments to outside bodies were confirmed as follows:-


Choppington Education Foundation – M Murphy

Druridge Bay Regeneration Partnership – S Dickinson

Friends of Morpeth Museum – D Bawn

Greater Morpeth Development Trust – R Wearmouth

Linton Village Hall Management Committee – L Dunn

Lynemouth Welfare Management Committee – L Dunn

Stakeford/Bomarsund Social Welfare Centre – J Foster and M Murphy


The Chair would contact Choppington Welfare to ascertain if it was appropriate for a Councillor to be appointed as this had been removed from the list previously as Ex-Councillor Ledger had been involved.




The Members Local Improvement Schemes for Castle Morpeth Local Area Council are provided for information only.



Details of the Castle Morpeth Members Local Improvement schemes had been provided for information. 


RESOLVED that the information be noted.





To note the latest version of agreed items for future Local Area Council meetings (any suggestions for new agenda items will require confirmation by the Business Chair after the meeting) 



The work programme was attached and the Chair asked that should anyone have any items they would like to raise they should contact him.


RESOLVED that the information be noted.





The next meeting which was a Planning only meeting would be held on Monday 9 August 2021 at 4.00 pm.