Caravan plan turned down

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Brought to you by the News Post Leader.

Residents cheered as councillors rejected plans for a caravan storage facility in Cramlington for the second time.

Members of the Cramlington, Bedlington and Seaton Valley Local Area Council refused a scheme to store up to 755 caravans, although likely to be around 365, on a site between the A189 and B1505.

A previous application for in excess of 1,500 caravans on the site was turned down due to the potential severe impacts on the road network, including the Moor Farm roundabout, and that it would be over-development.

The applicant has appealed this decision, with a hearing due to take place in September, and has now submitted new information which council officers say demonstrates ‘additional traffic movements generated would not be significant and would not impact upon highway safety’. Council officers recommended this latest application for approval, but councillors went against the advice to refuse it.

Coun Barry Flux said: “I’m not anti-business, I’m not against someone setting up a caravan storage site, but this is just totally the wrong area.

“People’s lives in this area are being played as a game of poker with one application or the other and I don’t think that’s fair.”

Resident Gerry Killen raised a number of concerns, including the amount of traffic, the road’s use by emergency vehicles getting to the nearby hospital, parking problems outside St John’s Church and the risk from gas bottles being stored on the site.

The area’s county councillor, Allan Hepple, said: “This has generated considerable concerns. I’m also against this application and I have fought this for 18 months.”

Coun John Collins, from Cramlington Town Council, added: “We are trying to make this a garden town – this is not the place for hundreds of caravans, on the way into Cramlington.”

But the applicant’s agent, Sean Hedley, said the proposal was ‘acceptable and policy compliant’, highlighting that the concerns of the council and Highways England in terms of road safety had been addressed.