Another bid for housing in town

The proposed site is land east of the A192 at Peacock Gap.
The proposed site is land east of the A192 at Peacock Gap.

Concerns have been raised about the impact of plans for up to 50 new homes on the edge of Morpeth town centre.

At Morpeth Town Hall last week, Charles Church (part of the Persimmon Group) had a consultation drop-in session with residents in relation to its initial proposals for a site at Peacock Gap.

The land east of the A192 is mainly being earmarked for executive housing. A range of technical assessments are currently being undertaken and depending on the feedback, the company intends to submit a full planning application in the near future.

Among the fears voiced by residents who attended was the potential cumulative impact of this scheme as immediately to the north of the Charles Church site is land that could be developed into residential dwellings by Story Homes.

It applied to build 39 executive properties, but the proposal was refused by Northumberland County Council’s North Area Planning Committee in February over concerns about height, design, mass and road safety.

Story Homes appealed against this decision in May and the matter will be determined by a planning inspector.

Also present at the drop-in was Alan Bell, chairman of the Morpeth Flood Action Group. Members are concerned about the potential for the development to increase the amount of water in the Cotting Burn.

He said: “The Cotting Burn is very volatile and in some circumstances, it can take just 40 minutes after a storm to flood.

“SUDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems) are being proposed, but they are not proven and if they overflow, the water will quickly run from the concrete into the burn.

“There doesn’t seem to be any joined up thinking when it comes to treated sewage flows for developments in this part of Morpeth and the developer was evasive about where exactly the treated sewage from the site would go.”

On its webpage about the proposed development, Charles Church says that flood risk associated with the Cotting Burn and any surface water overland flows from the A192 will be fully considered.

Its proposals ‘will actually be seeking to provide betterment, similar to what Persimmon have offered elsewhere in Morpeth’.

The other challenges of the site mentioned by the company include sharp gradients and topography, existing trees and vegetation of value and potential road noise from the A192.

The provision of large detached housing to meet the three or more bedroom housing need identified by the county council and affordable housing on site – including elderly bungalows in close proximity to the town centre – are among the opportunities listed.

Lee Crawford, group planner at Persimmon, said: “We had a good turnout of about 60 to 70 people at the drop-in session and there was a mixed bag of views. Some people felt that our design was sensitive and would be a good fit for the town.

“We fully appreciate the sensitivity of flood risk to Morpeth residents and we will consider these matters rigorously.

“All of the comments received will be taken on board.”