Council to discuss changes

Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.
Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.
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Final changes to a key county plan, including controversial amendments in Morpeth and Ponteland, are set to go out to consultation next month.

If agreed by the county council’s cabinet in early November, final major modifications to the core strategy of Northumberland’s Local Plan will be consulted on from November 11 to December 23, with submission to Government then scheduled for March 2017.

One of the main modifications planned is the Garden Village proposal at Dissington near Ponteland.

The others include changes to employment land allocations at Morpeth and a supplementary planning document for land at south east Ponteland.

Earlier this year, the council submitted an expression of interest to central Government for support in developing proposals for a new garden village of up to 2,000 homes on land owned by The Dissington Estate, which has developed the proposals.

While physically separate from Ponteland, it says the proposed development would be capable of delivering significant benefits to the area – including more than 500 affordable houses, a relief road, enhanced community transport and infrastructure and a flood alleviation scheme.

However, various Ponteland organisations have refused to attend the Enquiry by Design sessions for the scheme.

A statement by them last month included the following: ‘Any meaningful discussion on the design of the development proposed for this site would require us to tacitly approve of the deletion of green belt land for that purpose.’

The supplementary planning document provides guidance on the form of a ‘sustainable’ expansion of Ponteland. This will include a mix of education, leisure and housing in a landscape setting, plus land which will be safeguarded for development beyond 2031.

Coun Allan Hepple, cabinet member for economic growth at Northumberland County Council, said: “In Morpeth, the changes to employment land take account of the recent strategic planning committee resolution to grant outline planning permission for land west of Lancaster Park in the town (Mitford Estate scheme), re-allocation of land at Fairmoor for employment purposes, which aligns with the Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan, and the re-introduction of safeguarded employment land for the future expansion of Coopies Lane Industrial Estate.”

Hundreds of people objected to each application by Mitford Estate for a big scheme.

A report will be considered by the economic growth and strategic transport overview and scrutiny committee on October 25, and the cabinet on November 2.