OBJECTIONS have been submitted against an application to build more than 20 homes on a greenfield site in a rural village.

Hedley Planning Services, based in Hexham, submitted an application to Northumberland County Council on behalf of Ascent Homes to build 26 new homes of varying sizes and associated infrastructure on land North East of Bridgeford View, Bellingham.

Hexham Courant: Ascent Homes' proposed street scheme designsAscent Homes' proposed street scheme designs (Image: Ascent Homes)

An initial application submitted in 2017 proposed to build 31 new homes, which was revised due to a design review in light of build cost inflation and the new application was proposed this year. 

Ascent is backed by construction expert Advance Northumberland, which is responsible for the construction of its new homes.

The new application received more than 30 objections submitted on the council's planning portal on various grounds, including the contribution to the town's flooding risk and a lack of affordable homes on-site, submitted from residents and bodies including Bellingham Parish Council and Northumberland County Council as the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA).

Bellingham Primary and Middle Schools were substantially damaged by flash flooding earlier this year.

The application's design and access statement said: "The representations received in response to the publicity of the application are noted and have been taken into account. It is the advice of Officers that this application be granted outline planning permission subject to planning conditions and upon completion of a S106 Legal Agreement."

The LLFA's objection stated the levels of runoff water proposed in the plans would contribute to Bellingham's downstream flood risk.

Bellingham Parish Council's objection stated: "Recent changes at this site, including the removal of earth, appears to have contributed to the drastic surface water flooding Bellingham suffered downhill from this location earlier this year,"  the comment said, adding that although 'thorough', the flood risk plan does not appear to have considered the site's overall impact on mitigating flood risk or the wider geographical area.

A spokesperson from Advance Northumberland said: "Whilst we acknowledge the concerns raised, our revised planning application is for a lower number of new homes with more open space provided within the scheme. 

"The planning submission complies with planning policies within the new Northumberland Local Plan and is subject to internal and external consultation with key consultees. Part of the submission includes a flood risk assessment and drainage strategy report. 

"We are also working with the Local Planning Authority and the Lead Local Flood Authority to demonstrate that the development proposals will not have a detrimental impact on the site and wider village in terms of flood risk. The proposed drainage system is designed to mimic that of the existing greenfield run off which is in accordance with planning and flooding policies.

"The wider context for Bellingham is that recently a 100 per cent affordable housing scheme has recently been approved for 63 new homes at the former Auction Mart site so we believe that our proposal will complement the new homes available within the village over the coming years."