Northumberland family gets green light for new home bid

A young family in Northumberland has been given the go-ahead to build a new home, despite a council official recommending refusal

Laura Varty-Lindsay with son Henry Varty-Lindsay
Laura Varty-Lindsay with son Henry Varty-Lindsay

A young family from Northumberland has been given the go-ahead to build a new home, after councillors unanimously went against their officials’ advice.

Husband and wife Laura Varty-Lindsay and Mark Lindsay live on a farm near Morpeth with their young son – but are outgrowing their two-bedroom annex and so sought approval to build a new home on their family’s land.

Council planning officials recommended refusal, arguing their new home would constitute development in the open countryside – despite 14 letters of support for the application.

Councillors have now voted unanimously against that advice, sparking delight from the family.

Laura, 29, has lived at Rothley Crag farm at Longwitton since she was nine and is a health worker in the local area.

Laura is also an amateur event rider and looks after her horses on site.

She and Mark, a 30-year-old construction site foreman, run Levliann kennel, breeding flat coated retrievers and miniature dachshunds at the farm.

The couple live with 13-month-old son Henry in a two-bedroom annex at Rothley Crag, “in which our growing family is beginning to struggle,” Laura told the Journal earlier this week.

They applied to Northumberland County Council for planning permission for a new home, through conversion of an existing external store, on Laura’s parents’ land.

Fourteen letters of support were lodged with the authority, while county councillor for Longhorsley Glen Sanderson also gave his backing.

Yet amid concerns from Rothley with Hollinghill Parish Council and in one letter of objection, officers recommended refusal, claiming the home would be in open countryside and outside any settlement.

Before the meeting, the family spoke of the importance of remaining on the farm given its canine and equestrian interests, and said it had no need to live in a town.

The council’s north area planning committee has now voted unanimously to approve the application.

Acting chairman Dougie Watkin told The Journal: “Members just felt that young people in country areas need to be supported.

“If we are going to keep young people in country area, that is how we do it.”

Laura, who attended the meeting, said: “The committee were so positive in keeping a young family local and we’re so positive. We’re absolutely thrilled.”


David Whetstone
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