Further changes to a stable yard in south-east Northumberland, which has been the subject of several applications, have been given the green light.
The latest bid for Delaval Equestrian, off Mare Close, in the open countryside and green belt between Seghill and Seaton Delaval, went before the December meeting of the Cramlington, Bedlington and Seaton Valley Local Area Council.
Permission to vary the conditions of a previous approval in order to change a temporary, steel storage container into a permanent, timber-clad unit was granted by five votes to one, in line with the officer’s recommendation.
Seaton Valley Parish Council objected to the proposals, with its response saying: ‘The council is disappointed to see yet another application/variation for this site and feels that the applicant appears to be deliberately using the system to incrementally add to planning permissions already achieved.
‘The council has consistently opposed this over-development of the green belt and therefore confirms its objection to this variation application on the grounds that the development, with the addition of a large permanent store, is not small-scale and does not preserve the openness of the green belt.’
The previous scheme, for retrospective additions to the site, was contentious when it was approved by five votes to three at the local area council’s July meeting.
That permission covers the change of use of the the main building to equestrian, including additional internal stabling, and the erection of a lean-to addition to the main building, a single stable block, a double stable block, a hen house, a bale and materials store, and the storage container.
Resident Colin Lawson and parish councillor Les Bowman both raised a number of concerns at that meeting and both pointed out that the previous approval had a condition preventing commercial livery use which was being flouted.
The planning officer explained that the condition did not prevent commercial use in general and enforcement officers were unable to determine if the site was used for commercial livery specifically.
After the meeting, another neighbour shared evidence he had presented to the county council’s planning enforcement team which appeared to show commercial livery services being advertised on Facebook.
“Are the council saying I’m lying then?” he said. “They have promised lots and lots of things, but they have never done anything about it.”
A Northumberland County Council spokesman said: “The issue relating to commercial livery was investigated, but there wasn’t sufficient evidence to take formal action.
“At the time the building had permission for agricultural uses only, however, it was clear that the main use of the building was used for equestrian purposes.
“Therefore, in order to resolve this, we invited the submission of a retrospective application which was approved and the building can now be used for equestrian use.”
Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service