Councillors disappointed at housing appeal decision

Members of the public visiting  the site of proposed new homes at Stobhill, Morpeth.'REF 1301147947
Members of the public visiting the site of proposed new homes at Stobhill, Morpeth.'REF 1301147947

County councillors have spoken of their dismay at the approval of Stobhill housing plans.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has granted a bid for 396 homes to be built on agricultural land between Morpeth and Hepscott.

Coun Glen Sanderson, who represents Hepscott, said: “This is terrible news.

“It is a slap in the face for all those people who put up strong, sensible, reasoned arguments as to why this development shouldn’t go ahead. I’m desperately sorry for those people who tried so hard to stop it happening.

“This development will change the face of Morpeth forever and it will have a massive effect on the environment and landscape. I feel desperately and bitterly disappointed.”

Morpeth Kirkhill member Andrew Tebbutt said: “I’m appalled. It is very wrong for Morpeth. It makes a nonsense of all the work that people have done over the years to plan Morpeth properly.

“Because we don’t have a Core Strategy that is defendable, the residents have to suffer.

“More and more housing is being built in the wrong part of Morpeth. There is a significant imbalance.”

Stobhill member Ian Lindley said he is now working to get the best deal from developers Barratt David Wilson Homes.

“I’m disappointed for the people of Stobhill, but the minute this went to Eric Pickles I knew the outcome because his department is very aggressively pro-development.

“Given that context, I have been working to make sure we have got a relationship with the developer to get the maximum benefit for Stobhill. That is now my focus.

“Overall, the development adheres to the best practice guidelines. The main thing for me is that there is a huge proportion of affordable housing for rent.

“Having lost the appeal, we now have to make the best of things.”