Council hits out at bid for new housing

A LENGTHY list of objections to a housing bid for Stobhill has been submitted by town councillors.

The Herald has reported growing opposition to plans by Barratt David Wilson Homes and Tees Valley Housing to build 395 new homes at Stobhill.

Now Morpeth Town Council has submitted its objections.

The authority’s planning committee says that the site of the proposed scheme, between the A192 and A196, would be outside the settlement boundary, on greenfield land in open countryside that forms a buffer between Morpeth and Hepscott.

Members say development would be premature before green-belt boundaries are set as it will reduce the gap between the two communities to less than half-a-mile.

It would also destroy the landscape corridor along the A196 and A192, which is a valued green approach to Morpeth likely be given protection in the Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan currently being drafted by the community.

The council says piecemeal development should not be permitted until the Plan is finalised as it would jeopardise residents’ ability to decide where growth should be.

Councillors fear the scheme would increase flood risk for Morpeth and Hepscott, and there are major concerns about the capacity of the sewerage network.

Traffic congestion, a lack of school places and piecemeal evaluations of its impact are also highlighted as concerns, and the committee said there is no immediate shortage of housing to justify a hasty decision.

Committee Chairman Ken Brown said: “We have put forward a very comprehensive list of objections, which I think a lot of people in the community will support. It is very much in line with what is emerging in the Neighbourhood Plan. We feel strongly that it is the people of Morpeth who should decide where development should take place, not housing development companies.”

The objections have been sent to Northumberland County Council.