Council submits a fresh objection to controversial plans

Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.

Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.

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Town councillors are continuing to oppose controversial plans for a large development on the edge of Morpeth after further changes were made.

The amendments to the Mitford Estate proposal for a greenfield site to the north and west of Lancaster Park include a significant increase in the employment offer and a reduction in the number of homes.

The landowner appealed against the refusal of its application for up to 255 homes, a hotel, roadside services, a pub/restaurant and parkland last November.

Earlier this year, it submitted a similar bid with fewer homes (195) and more grazing land.

The additional changes made recently bring this number down to 150, with affordable housing still at 30 per cent.

A 2,100 sq ft innovation centre is also being proposed, which Mitford Estate says will offer the opportunity for a wide range of businesses to utilise the workspace.

However, members of Morpeth Town Council’s planning and transport committee have decided to submit a fresh objection.

It previously said that the housing element would represent ‘non-essential and unjustified development in the open countryside’.

The committee also raised concerns that the ‘close proximity of commercial and industrial usage, especially a service station and lorry park, to residential use is unacceptable’.

In its recent objection, as well as submitting its previous points, members say the application conflicts with the Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan that came into legal force after being ‘made’ in May.

It is also ‘contrary to the emerging Northumberland County Council Core Strategy, which, having previously designated the site as safeguarded land, now proposes to allocate the site purely for employment use’.

When the amendments were made, a Mitford Estate spokesman said: “The successful delivery of this detailed scheme offers the opportunity to create more than 350 jobs and produce a £22million economic boost for the area, with an investment cost of £80million.

“The benefits of the scheme also include that the housing will meet local affordable housing needs.”