Residents' fury as Stannington Station in Northumberland increases in size by '95 per cent'

Residents of a small village inundated with new developments have hit out at council planners and claimed their community has almost doubled in size in recent years.

Speaking at Monday’s meeting of Castle Morpeth Local Area Council, Stannington Station resident Ted Hall said the village had increased in size by 95% and criticised “overdevelopment” of the area.

Mr Hall was speaking in opposition of an outline planning application for four more bungalows in the village, and called on councillors to go against planning officers’ recommendations and throw the application out.

He said: “I represent a group of residents who object on the grounds that Stannington Station is already overdeveloped. There has been a 95% increase in homes in recent years and this would push it to 108%.

“It would appear it took objectors comments to raise the alarm. Northumberland County Council have repeatedly acknowledged overdevelopment has reached a critical point. This is a clear example of overdevelopment.

“We have had a larger amount of proportional development than anywhere else in Northumberland. A village has reached a critical situation which could and should have been avoided.”

Speaking on behalf of the applicant, planning agent Mark Ketley said there was a growing need in Northumberland for bungalows to fill the housing needs of elderly people. He added that applicants Altoria Development Ltd had a strong track record in the area and had already developed two sites in Stannington Station.

Coun John Beynon proposed refusing the application, arguing: “When do we say stop? Listening to the objector I feel sorry for the people living there. It must be like living on a building site.

“We should have been doing this years ago and we haven’t. We should have said stop a while ago and I have to say stop at some time.”

However, the council’s deputy leader Coun Richard Wearmouth said the council would likely lose on appeal if they rejected the application, citing previous advice from the planning inspectorate.

He said: “I can’t see that we can refuse this. I think it’s not within the greenbelt, it’s within the settlement boundary and we have numerous examples of that.”

The council’s senior planning manager, Elizabeth Sinnamon, warned members that the principle of overdevelopment would not carry as much weight as the policy reasons behind approving the plans.

She added that the council would likely face a hefty legal bill if the case went to appeal.

The application was approved by six votes to three.

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