Another bid to build new flats

A company has made a second attempt to secure planning permission for a proposal to build 10 apartments in a greenfield area on the edge of Morpeth.

The initial application for the properties on land east of Turner Square at Choppington Road, which would be classed as affordable, was lodged by Till Services Ltd in September last year.

More than a dozen residents objected to the plans and Morpeth and Hepscott councillors also raised concerns. In December, the bid was turned down by Northumberland County Council under delegated powers.

Planning officers said that the site in Stobhill is a valued and well utilised protected open space and no assessment of whether the open space is surplus to requirements was submitted with the application.

The other reasons for refusal included that the proposal would have a detrimental impact upon the health and well-being of the local community, visual amenity and the natural and built environment in the area.

Till Services came forward with an application a few weeks ago, which it says addresses the matters raised in the county council’s decision. It also believes that the authority failed to apply the appropriate weight to the provision of affordable housing on the site.

However, groups of local residents believe that the application is still inappropriate for the area and more than ten objections have already been put forward.

One of the objectors, Steven Ward, said in his submission: ‘The proposed apartments would completely block out the view and natural light from the flats in Turner Square and the houses on Choppington Road.

‘Choppington Road already has a traffic problem and agreeing to this application would only make this issue worse.’

Lucy Fenwick, who is also against the bid, said: ‘Generations of people make use of this tree-lined grassed area and preserving it is very important. This space is precious to those who live in this area, especially with the development permitted on the other side of the road on green land.’

In a planning statement on behalf of Till Services, its agent for the application, Signet Planning, says the apartments would meet an identified local need.

It also includes the following: ‘It is prudent to outline that this space is more ‘incidental’ in character and is not actively used by members of the public.

‘There are many areas of better quality open space in the immediate locality.’