Council back residents in fight against home

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TOWN councillors have backed residents in their fight against plans for a new Morpeth home.

The Herald previously reported that an application had been submitted by architect John Hare to build a three-storey, three bedroom house at the entrance to Dene View, off the A192, with parking for two vehicles, a garage and garden.

The bid will be decided by Northumberland County Council’s North Area Planning Committee.

But at a meeting of Morpeth Town Council’s Planning and Transport Committee last week, members heard that 200 signatures have already been collected by local residents against the development.

Objectors raised concerns about the building’s siting and design, overlooking of neighbours, over-development of the plot, parking facilities, flood risk, the impact on wildlife and the sewerage network, as well as road safety fears.

Mauren Davison, of Pottery Bank Court, said: “This is an accident black spot. I don’t need to list everything, but the last time I was here was because my house had been semi-demolished.

“The most recent incident was in the last 24 hours. There are skid marks on the pavement and broken glass from a car at Newminster Place, and there was a house impacted at the top of Newgate Street, which was a hit and run accident.”

She also spoke about fears that a precedent would be set for removing valued green space at the northern gateway to the town and urged councillors to take measures to protect it.

“I think without exception we all chose to live in this area because it is semi-rural. I know there is a road running through it, but I don’t think in our wildest dreams we thought anyone would develop the parcel of land that is proposed,” she said.

“We thought it was council-owned greenery because it looks so uniform. It is part of the green corridor.”

She added: “We want you to support us in rejecting this development and recommend implementing protection for the existing green space at Pottery Bank. This isn’t just for current residents, it is for the future as well.”

Members were unanimous in their support for the objectors.

Coun Les Cassie said: “I would like to urge the committee to strenuously object to this proposal for all of the reasons that Maureen Davison has laid out.

“Some of these reasons probably aren’t valid in planning law so while I agree with them they won’t be considered, but I do believe very strongly that the green corridor coming into Morpeth from the north is in the town council’s policy and it is in the Castle Morpeth policies that have been saved.

“This would be the first attempt to chip away at that by taking out what is a uniform green channel coming south.

“The second reason for objection is that it is oversized for the site — it is three-storey against the two-storey buildings on the east of the road, it is shoe-horned onto a tiny site and it is over-development.

“The traffic management and parking that residents have referred to is another problem. The entrance is very difficult and on a dangerous piece of road where there is a history of accidents.”

Coun Richard Thompson agreed.

“This is an area I walk past regularly. It is an oversized and inappropriate development, it is a very difficult road and there are also problems with the pavement as it is. There would be a high risk of accidents,” he said.

Member Nic Best urged residents to contribute to the forthcoming Neighbourhood Planning process to ensure the green area is protected.

He said: “There was a suggestion that this may be designated green space. I think it may be appropriate in the Neighbourhood Plan to draw this into the process and when we come to be working on that residents should come forward with this proposal.

“It is going to be very important to protect that green corridor. When the Northern Bypass goes ahead there is going to be a lot more building either side of the bypass so it is very important that we protect what green entrances we have in Morpeth.”

Coun David Parker added: “If that gets put into the Neighbourhood Plan, not only in relation to this, but the idea of a corridor, then it would become a planning document which the North Area Planning Committee when deciding applications would have to take into account.”

The town council will object to the house plans on the grounds of potential damage to the green corridor and wildlife, setting a precedent for development, oversized development for the plot and traffic and parking concerns.

The authority will also put forward a representative to speak against the application when it is considered by the North Area Committee.