Councillors call for rethink on conservatories

COUNTY councillors are calling for rules banning people in some terraced streets from having front conservatories built to be scrapped.

Members of Northumberland County Council’s south east area planning committee asked for a review of the policy and, after learning how it is applied, now believe it should be abandoned.

Coun Jimmy Sawyer, of Ashington’s College ward, said: “One resident was refused because nobody else in that street had one. That’s absolutely ridiculous.

“That means everybody in that street can never ever have a conservatory.

“We cannot accept a policy where a person is refused a conservatory because nobody in that street has one.

“It has to be taken on merit. It beggars belief, to be honest.”

The policy, only in force in the former Wansbeck district, is aimed at preserving the uniformity and character of terraces.

Conservatories in Georgian or Victorian styles are deemed unsuitable for terraced housing because of potential mismatches in materials and roof angles, according to the current policy.

Coun Barrie Crowther, of Cramlington Eastfield, told last week’s meeting at Blyth’s Isabella Centre that the report failed to define what a conservatory or a porch is and the difference between them.

Chairman Coun Dave Ledger, of Choppington, said: “It’s not debarring anybody, but it means that we as a committee have a view.”

The council’s strategic development manager, Frances Wilkinson, promised to give the committee another chance to discuss the policy before the council’s executive makes a final decision on it.