COUNCILLORS on a planning committee have unanimously voted to go against the advice of planners and approve proposals for a new build holiday let near a Northumbrian village.

The application requested permission to demolish an existing cattle shed at Leazes Head near Humshaugh and replace it with a new build, self-catering bed and breakfast.

The property will be designed to be fully wheelchair accessible and is within a short walk of Hadrian’s Wall.

However, council planners had recommended the plans for refusal, having already refused an earlier application under delegated powers.

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It was felt that the application site was not in a “sustainable location” and that the new holiday accommodation would not “diversify Northumberland’s tourism offer”.

Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting (March 12) of the Tynedale Local Area Planning Committee, planning agent Robin Wood of R&K Wood Planning disputed this. He pointed out the property would be just 850 metres from the Hadrian’s Wall path.

He added: “You are being advised that people walking 84 miles won’t walk the extra 850 metres to this property. What standards are officers using? It’s not credible, please ask them.

“The advice is contrary to the evidence. Negative use of the policies is worrying.

“It is stifling farm diversification. Farming and the rural economy has never faced such challenges and I would ask you to support this application.”

Members agreed with Mr Wood’s position. Councillor Derek Kennedy, who represents the Hexham West ward, said: “I have been on this committee for many, many years and I have got to admit that the argument put forward by Mr Wood was one of the strongest arguments I have ever heard when it has been put forward for refusal.

“In my mind, things should be allowed unless there is a really good argument for refusal. I’m totally underwhelmed by the refusal argument.”

Local ward councillor Nick Morphet added: “I think we would be crazy not to grant permission for this. It is in a very sustainable location and I’m very happy to believe that accommodation like this is in very high demand and it will improve Northumberland’s tourism provision.”

The plans were unanimously approved.