Northumberland family pleading for council support to build new home

A Northumberland family is pleading with councillors to go against officer advice and allow it to build a new home

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

A young family from Northumberland are pleading with councillors to go against officer advice and allow them to build a new home.

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

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

A decision will be made tonight with the family urging councillors to go against their officer advice.

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

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

The couple live with 13-month-old son Henry Varty-Lindsay in a two bed annex at Rothley Crag “in which our growing family is beginning to struggle,” Laura said.

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

Fourteen letters of support have been lodged with the authority while county councillor for Longhorsley Glen Sanderson has also given his backing.

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

The council’s north area planning committee will make the final decision on the application on Thursday night.

Laura, who is to attend the meeting, said: “My husband and I have no need to live in a town and a potential move would have massive implications on the ability to continue to breed quality dogs and produce event horses.

“Our need to live on the holding is great, with the need to care and attend to eleven pedigree dogs and five event horses.

“Sadly the planners are recommending our design for refusal.

“We’ve had enormous support from neighbours and friends, all of whom have been very impressed with the design and would like to see us stay local.

“I’m very hopeful that the plans will be passed, but I can’t help being nervous as the future of my little family is heavily dependent upon the decision made.

“If we sadly don’t get planning, we will be going to appeal and will reapply as many times as necessary.”

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer