REJECTED plans for a holiday park which opponents claimed threatened the future dualling of the A1 in Northumberland have been turned back for a second time.
Proposals for land next to the single carriageway near Felton sparked concerns with the site having previously been earmarked for the dualling – causing critics to fear they could jeopardise the upgrade.
They have now been dismissed by a planning inspector.
Opponents last night welcomed the decision while those behind the scheme said they were considering the inspector’s findings.
The application from Clive Milner was for 36 timber lodges and nine caravan pitches at a site to be named Elm Park, west of the A1 at Burgham Park.
They were to be built on land which formed part of the Highways Agency’s protected “Green Route” for future dualling of the road between Morpeth and Felton.
Despite that, the agency did not object to the application, on the basis the dualling project is currently “on hold” and does not have funding.
The application did spark objections or concerns from Berwick MP Sir Alan Beith, county councillor for the area Glen Sanderson, Thirston Parish Council and the owner of the nearby Burgham Park golf and leisure club.
Northumberland County Council highways officials raised fears the development could “undermine or even prevent” the upgrade of the single carriageway stretch.
Planning officers nevertheless recommended the application be approved.
However, the authority’s North area planning committee voted unanimously to refuse and criticised the road agency for failing to defend its route, claiming it lacked commitment to the dualling project.
The applicants then appealed against the council’s decision.
Now, the inspector has thrown out the appeal after a site visit.
In his report, inspector David Cullingford concludes: “I have found that this scheme would represent an unsustainable form of development in an inappropriate and isolated location that would not be close to any existing settlement or well connected to an existing ‘tourism use’ or group of buildings.
“I also consider that the scheme would fail to respect the character of the countryside.
“Moreover, although I realise that the scheme would entail some benefits for the local economy in the form of jobs (direct and indirect) and the spending of prospective occupants, the mainly general evidence adduced does not convince me that those benefits would be sufficient to outweigh the adverse impacts of the scheme.
“Hence, although I agree that the proposal would not jeopardise road safety (given the evidence available), I find neither that nor any other matter raised sufficiently compelling to alter my conclusion that this appeal should be dismissed.”
Mr Milner’s application to be awarded costs by the council was dismissed.
Last night Coun Sanderson said: “That is absolutely splendid news and I am sure many people will be very pleased about that. I am very glad that the inspector has agreed with us and all the local people.”
Gary Swarbrick, agent to Mr Milner, said: “We are still digesting the decision and speaking to the clients.”