Development sign can stay

A RETROSPECTIVE planning application for an advertisement sign at a controversial Morpeth development has been approved, despite enforcement action taking place.

Persimmon Homes submitted plans to keep a sign displaying information about its development at The Kylins, off the A197.

But both Morpeth Town Council and The Kylins Residents’ Association objected to the application on the grounds that the proliferation of signs on the site is already having an adverse impact on the area.

And at Thursday’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s North Area Planning Committee, ward member Andrew Tebbutt spoke against the plans, saying there had been numerous problems between the developer and the local community.

“It has been extremely frustrating for this community which has worked so hard to protect the environment they live in only to find that it comes to nothing as big business rides roughshod over it,” he said.

“The existing sign will not damage the visual impact of the area as it has already been ruined by the development.”

He added that the sign states that the new development will be called Castle Court, but no decision has yet been made on the name in consultation with residents.

Enforcement action is already being taken by the county council with regards to other signs and flags put up at the site.

Committee member Trevor Thorne, said: “I do have sympathy with Coun Tebbutt and I agree that a cluster of signs detracts substantially from the development.

“I feel that if there was just one advertisement I think it would be nicer for the residents and I think that would help to sell properties better.”

Coun Anthony Murray added: “I don’t live there and I don’t pass by this development every day, but with something like this I do agree that to local people it does mean quite a lot that this sign is there.

“But we have got to accept that few applications we get will not create some kind of inconvenience. We have got to try to measure benefit against inconvenience. In these difficult financial times anything that can help movement on that site would be desirable.”

The plans were approved with conditions attached.

The site has proved controversial after the developer submitted plans for alterations to the approved scheme.

Residents opposed the amendments, which including ‘flipping’ plots to face onto The Kylins access road and changing house types, saying they went against a carefully negotiated development brief that was drawn up when the building work was first considered.

The developer’s application was rejected by the council, but was granted by a planning inspector on appeal.