Proposals to build 240 homes to the south of Ashington have been rejected by councillors as they would be surrounded by industrial estates.
The outline application, for land to the south of Newbiggin Road and on the northern edge of North Seaton Industrial Estate, was recommended for refusal at Tuesday’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee due to the site being allocated as employment land.
Michael Hepburn, of Nathaniel Lichfield Partners, spoke on behalf of the applicant, Apinder Ghura, and highlighted the site’s unsuccessful history as employment land.
“The site has been allocated since 1971 – more than 40 years – and there’s never been any planning applications for industrial uses,” he said.
“It’s simply not a viable site for industrial uses due to the topography. There’s no shortage of better industrial sites in Ashington or south-east Northumberland.”
He continued by pointing out that there is a shortage of housing in the area, which ‘means the presumption in favour of sustainable development applies’.
“This is a great opportunity to redress the balance in Ashington and south-east Northumberland,” he added.
However, there were also concerns raised about noise, particularly in relation to the adjacent Thornton Brothers site where shot blasting takes place.
Coun Andrew Tebbutt said: “I wrestled with this one because we have an over-supply of allocated employment land and we do have a problem generally in the south-east in that we don’t have a five-year housing land supply.
“But I’m persuaded to support the recommendation not because I necessarily think it should be maintained as employment land, but because I don’t think it’s suitable for housing land as it’s so surrounded by industry.”