Deadlock over land transfer at allotments

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Efforts to agree the transfer of land at a key Morpeth site have hit an impasse, it has been revealed.

Earlier this year, Morpeth Town Council applied to the Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Eric Pickles, for land to be taken from Tommy’s Field Allotments off Dark Lane.

The deal would allow the construction of a roundabout into the St George’s Hospital site, serving proposed housing developments and Morpeth NHS Centre.

However, the authority has received a letter from the DCLG asking for more information about why the land transfer is necessary.

At a meeting of the planning and transport committee, Morpeth Mayor Nic Best said the matter was complicated because DCLG represents the interests of the National Allotment Society and it is also responsible for bringing forward sustainable development under the National Planning Policy Framework.

He added: “The allotment-holders are seeking more information, but for housing developers, these details are normally dealt with once planning permission is granted. Therefore, we’re at a bit of an impasse.

“It’s important now that we make sure we know exactly what each party is saying and find some common ground, so we can then make some headway.”

The Tommy’s Field Allotment Association is currently opposing the transfer. Members want to know exactly how much land will be taken up by a roundabout and they have said that the East Riding care home is not happy with its access being used for the proposed new plots.

The town council will now meet with the county council to discuss the DCLG letter.