Residents living near the former St George’s Hospital site in Morpeth have raised concerns about the potential impact of hundreds of new homes.
And the traffic implications for the access road to the town’s NHS Centre have led to calls from a patient group that the proposed development should only happen when road links from the northern bypass – scheduled to be built between spring 2015 and autumn 2016 if government approval is granted – are in place.
The Homes and Communities Agency and Linden Homes jointly submitted a planning application for the plot. It includes a proposal for full planning permission for 119 homes, access, landscaping, open space and parking.
In addition, there are plans for outline permission for a further 256 dwellings, including changing an administration block to residential, assembly and leisure use, as phases B and C.
A public consultation event organised by the applicants found 77 per cent of respondents in favour of developing the plot, but some residents in the vicinity have raised objection issues in response to the bid that they want the agency and company to address.
Thorp Avenue resident Thomas Cosh said in his response: “We are not convinced that their proposed solution in the flood risk assessment will solve the problem with run-off water and the effect it has on the properties in Thorp Avenue.
“At present, the drainage system is under severe pressure up here when we have any substantial rainfall and often fails to cope satisfactorily.
“These concerns underscore our objection to the proposal to build more homes, which would mean more water needing drainage into a mains system not coping in heavy rain.”
Fellow Thorp Avenue resident Dr Sean Parker is among a dozen other people who have highlighted the drainage issue and he said the access road is not sufficient for the number of houses proposed.
He added: “We will be subjected to very significant noise pollution as the traffic will increase very substantially and pass within yards of our house.
“We would ask that there is a full assessment regarding the impact on our property.”
The Greystoke Surgery Patients Participation Group raised concerns earlier this year about the junction of Dark Lane and the road that goes to the health centre, describing it as ‘an accident waiting to happen’.
A number of interim measures to improve road safety at the junction have been suggested and they are currently being considered by the county council.
In its response to the planning application, the group says permission should only be granted if a new roundabout is built to accommodate the extra traffic.
It also says: “It is considered that in view of the highway issues, the proposed housing development is premature and should not take place until vehicular access can be obtained from the proposed northern relief road.”