Fresh fears over bid for new homes

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OPPOSITION is mounting to plans for new housing in Morpeth.

The outline application by Persimmon Homes for land to the south of Northgate Hospital is to build about 255 family homes.

Although the company says the development would bring about an increase of £2.4million in annual retail spending in the area, as well as other community benefits through a section 106 agreement, residents have begun to lodge objections to the county council.

And the authority’s highways department has raised concerns about a proposed temporary access onto the A192 before the potential Morpeth Northern Bypass is built.

One of the local residents against the bid is Emma Brewis. She said: “A residential development of this size in an area two miles distant from Morpeth and lacking any of the infrastructure of amenities requisite for a viable community would be wholly inappropriate.

“This proposed development, together with a similar one in close proximity at the Northgate site, would represent a completely unacceptable urbanisation of the locality and an example of the worst possible kind of urban sprawl.

“Such a development would be a large-scale erosion of the greenbelt, effectively damaging the aspect of the landscape, the rural character of which should be treated with sensitivity.

“Covering this untouched greenfield site with acres of concrete will inevitably exacerbate existing problems of flooding, both in the immediate area and in Morpeth itself.”

Another objector is Allan Atkinson, who said: “Any residential building would be creating a ‘satellite’ estate, with no direct attachment to Morpeth and no amenities for its residents.

“This would result in increased traffic too and from Morpeth town centre, which is already congested.

“An estate located 1.5 miles from the town centre would require better access, more public transport and better street lighting, especially for any school children. At present this is non-existent.”

Morpeth Town Council has also called for the application to be refused.

As well as concerns about a potential increase in flood risk and lack of community facilities in the area, it says the bid is premature when a Neighbourhood Plan, which will enable the community to determine where development should take place, is being discussed, and also while discussions are ongoing about where a greenbelt should be defined.

In addition, the county council’s highways department has said in its response that if the development is allowed to proceed before the Morpeth Northern Bypass is approved, the temporary access would cause “significant disruption” to the construction of the bypass and could also have cost implications.