Council firms up housing objections

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COMMUNITY leaders have put forward new evidence to fight controversial housing plans.

Morpeth Town Council has strengthened its arguments against Bellway Homes’ bid to build 200 houses at South Loansdean.

The authority has submitted its objections to the Planning Inspectorate ahead of the re-determination of an appeal by written representation.

It follows a ruling that an original failed appeal by Bellway had to be reconsidered after the developer complained about the interpretation of affordable housing figures.

The council says the application is premature when a Neighbourhood Plan is being drawn up, which will enable local residents to decide where development should be. Councillors had raised the issue in the original appeal, but it was afforded little consideration as the Plan was still in the early stages. Now the council says it has progressed substantially.

Hebron, Hepscott, Mitford and Pegswood parish councils have all joined the steering group and Northumberland County Council has formally agreed the Plan area. Topic groups are assembling evidence and technical reports, and an Issues and Options consultation will be launched in September, with the Plan due to be adopted in autumn 2014.

The council says evidence has already emerged that there are issues of critical infrastructure capacity in the town, the building of the Morpeth Northern Bypass will have a major influence on future development and there is a need to look at flood risk as a whole.

Coun David Parker said: “The town council is still sure that this particular development is not right for Morpeth at the present time and it hopes that the Inspectorate will confirm the previous decision.”

An inspector is expected to visit the Loansdean site this month before making a decision.