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21 February 2022
BID TO BUILD HOUSES IN FISHBURN FIELD FAILS

A DEVELOPER'S bid to build up to 30 houses has been refused planning permission. Gordon Hirst's planning application was turned down after planners deemed it to be in "open countryside". He sought outline planning permission for up to 30 homes, with 22 houses indicated on the plans. The plans for arable land to the west of Stobart Terrace, Fishburn attracted objections. The Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE Durham) objected over encroachment into countryside, lack of housing need and impact on public footpaths. Northumbrian Water said there was not enough detail in the plan. Two residents objected, raising concerns about traffic, road safety, the need for more housing in the village and lack of community facilities. Council officers felt the scheme could lead to ecological harm and "significant incursion into an attractive and prominent landscape", and that it conflicted with policies. Landscape officers objected to the development in open countryside which would have a "transformative and negative impact". "Possible archaeological remains" close to the site were also raised as an issue which needs a survey report.

Senior planning officer Mark O'Sullivan told Durham County Council's planning committee meeting: "It's in open countryside. There are no material considerations that would outweigh the conflict with the development plan. The application is recommended for refusal."

The same developer was given outline permission to build up to 70 homes on nearby land in August 2018. Although this was considered acceptable at the time, that permission lapsed. "That no longer exists," said Mr O'Sullivan. "A lot has changed since that time. A lot has changed policy-wise. If the applicant wants to develop that site, they'd have to reapply."

Dr Anton Lang, agent for the developer, said: "The creation of these 22 to 30 units will obviously bring people to Fishburn. That will support the shops, the services and facilities of Fishburn and other local villages." He said it would enable an access road to the site where the 70 homes were to be built, and the layout of the 22 homes would create "a more attractive buffer towards the western side". He said issues raised could be dealt with later in the planning process.

Councillor David Boyes referred to water issues, saying: "To me this is an insufficiently developed application. They need to put a more robust plan together. There's four or five issues there that I'm not happy as a planning committee member that I could approve this." Cllr Liz Brown said: "There's a paucity of detail in this application. As it stands it's not a viable planning application."

The committee voted unanimously to refuse the plan. Source: Northern Echo.

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