VILLAGERS are celebrating victory after controversial proposals to build a climate positive house on a popular spot in green belt land were turned down.

The application, which would have seen the house - described as a Bond Villain's lair by one objector - built on land south of Church Lane in Riding Mill.

The applicants attempted to use Paragraph 79 of the National Planning Policy Framework, which allows new dwellings to be built in the countryside where they are of exceptional design, to get around the green belt issue.

Speaking at Tynedale Local Area Council's virtual meeting on Tuesday, Rob Murfin, the council's director of planning admitted that the house was of exceptional design - but argued that it did not enhance the area.

He said: "This application is really unusual. Planning law should and does include provision for things that are really unusual and on the face of it don't fit.

"It needs to be seen as a one off project or the future. That's why we're using paragraph 79 - doing something different to what we normally do when we look at applications.

"This is much like the Queen Elizabeth Monument where you could approve or refuse - there's no automatic answer."

However, councillors unanimously agreed to go along with the officer's recommendation and refused the application.

Coun. Colin Horncastle, who proposed supporting the officer's recommendation, said: "Is this an exemplar design? Yes, we've even got our director of planning saying so.

"But does it fit with the area? Imagine this design if it was built high above Riding Mill. Does it fit in? No it does not. It would have a serious impact on the area."