Agenda item


Proposed development of 1 no. dwelling house

Development At The Barn Sparty Lea, Allenheads, Hexham, Northumberland


Proposed development of 1 no. dwelling house

Development at The Barn Sparty Lea, Allenheads, Hexham, Northumberland


There were no questions arising from the site visit videos which had been circulated prior to the meeting.


The Senior Planning Officer introduced the application with the aid of a powerpoint presentation.  There were no updates.


Councillor Horncastle addressed the Local Area Council as the Ward Councillor and expressed his surprise that the application was recommended for refusal.  A copy of his statement is attached to the signed minutes and uploaded to the Council’s website.


A statement in support of the application from the agent Ms Wafer, who had written on behalf of the applicants, was read out by K Blyth, DM Area Team Manager (West), and would be attached to the signed minutes and uploaded to the Council’s website.


In response to questions from Members the following information was provided:-


·       Allendale Parish Council previously had no objection to the scheme.  They had then submitted a further response which confirmed that they supported the application.

·       The planning history of the site was documented between 1988 – 2006 which confirmed that the former building was in existence during that period with photographic evidence.  The Council’s records indicated that the property had collapsed approximately 10 years previously.

·       The officer had not dealt with the planning applications for the sites referred to by the local Councillor and therefore was unable to comment on the materials used on those buildings.

·       Timber cladding was used for chalets and shepherds’ huts but traditionally not on other buildings within the AONB.  The AONB design guide had been reviewed when considering this application.

·       The principle of development accepted the construction of a replacement building on this site and reference was made to the permission which had been granted for the conversion of the previous building, which had collapsed.  However, the policy being relied upon within the Allendale Neighbourhood Plan was the rebuilding of a collapsed building with the inference that the replacement building should reflect the former building as much as possible.  Officers had tried to resolve the design issues that were in dispute, such as the removal of the dormer windows, which were not a traditional feature of a barn structure.

·       Officers had to be careful that there was not ‘design creep’ resulting in buildings which did not reflect the character of the area.  The previous permission had been more similar to the characters of a barn.

·       The scale of the proposed dwelling and position on the site were acceptable, however officers wished to see changes regarding the dormer windows, cladding and car port which were not traditional features of the former building.  There had been some small changes to the original application, but they were not considered sufficient to recommend approval of the application.  Suggestions included the removal of the dormer windows, use of stone on the building and doors on the garage.  The applicant had wanted to test whether the proposed scheme would be approved as it was.  Detailed discussions had been held with the applicant / agent regarding the changes that would make the application acceptable.

·       Bold and assertive designs could work in protected areas; however, in this case the features in dispute were considered to introduce a suburban feel to the design of the building losing the original character.

·       Sparty Lea was a small settlement of stone-built houses in close proximity to the road between Allenheads and Allendale.

·       No response had been received from the North Pennines AONB on this application.  They did work with officers on larger applications but were likely restricted on where their resources could be directed.

·       The application had been assessed against Policy ANDP8 which permitted development where a building had collapsed and mirrored the features of the previous building.  Comparison could not be made with the examples referred to by the local Councillor as the extensions of existing dwellings or conversion of buildings would not have been assessed in the same way as this application.

·       The AONB design guide did make reference to climate change and sustainability issues but no reference had been made to these by the applicant or their agent.

·       The style of building proposed in the current application was dissimilar to the permission granted in 2016, which had moved away slightly from the original position, so some flexibility had been permitted.  The details did not conform to the design guide or the character of the AONB.


Councillor Gibson proposed that the application be approved if the applicant made acceptable amendments within 7 working days.


The Principal Solicitor explained that Members needed to make a decision on the application before them.  He suggested that the application be deferred and that delegated authority be given to the Director of Planning to agree the details under the scheme of delegation.  If he was unable to do this, the application be brought back to Committee for a formal decision.


Councillor Gibson agreed to withdraw his previous proposal and moved that the application be deferred in order that the Director of Planning could consider amendments within 7 working days.  The Director of Planning recognised the urgency that the matter not be unnecessarily delayed and resolved as soon as possible.  If amendments to the scheme were unable to be agreed, the application be brought back to Committee for a formal decision.  This was seconded by Councillor Riddle.


Members were in agreement that the matter be deferred to allow a further period of negotiation with the applicant on the areas which were under dispute.


Upon being put to the vote, this was unanimously agreed.


RESOLVED that the application be DEFERRED and that delegated authority be given to the Director of Planning to approve the application if amendments were made to the scheme to his satisfaction as soon as possible.

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