A CONTROVERSIAL planning application to build two new homes in the centre of Haltwhistle has been rejected by councillors.

The application, which was for two three-bedroom semi-detached houses north of Mags Newsagents on Haltwhistle’s Main Street, was considered by Tynedale Local Area Council on Tuesday, where councillors unanimously agreed with planning officers to refuse permission.

The application had received a number of objections, which were mostly based around vehicular access to the site through a narrow alley.

Haltwhistle Town Council objected to the application on the basis of access.

Its objection read: “Haltwhistle Town Council objects to the application as there is concern over the access for the neighbouring businesses to the rear of their properties.

“There is also concern over the shared access with the post office and the vehicular access to the main street.”

The council’s highways department also raised objections, stating that its concerns were so significant that “no reasonable action” would address them.

It was felt that the poor visibility, and the fact that cars may have to reverse on to Main Street if they met a car coming the other way had an unacceptable impact on road safety, in particular to pedestrians.

Following the objection from highways, nobody attended the meeting to speak in support of the application.

Haltwhistle resident Phillip Johnson, who also objected to the application, said: “I believe that local people should have a say in planning and what is built, and I think that’s shown with the objection of the town council which represents the people.

“The scale of the plans are incorrect, and they do not show the post office sorting office and, in my view, are very misleading.”

However, councillors said they would be open to a development on the site.

Coun. Nick Oliver said: “This is a site ripe for development, but not this kind of development.

“This clearly doesn’t really meet the tests and it doesn’t work.”

Coun. Colin Horncastle added: “It’s not a good quality design. The plans don’t seem as though they’re to scale.

“It’s a site that, in my mind, you could build on.

“We’re short of housing sites here in the new local plan.

“It’s a town centre development – you don’t need any parking.”