Fight begins to block out-of-town housing scheme

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Have your say

RESIDENTS and councillors are joining forces to fight a new housing bid.

As the Herald reported last month, Barratt David Wilson Homes and Tees Valley Housing plan to build up to 395 homes at Stobhill, between the A192 and A196.

The development would include affordable housing, footpaths, cycleways, open space, landscaping and wildlife links, but Stobhill county councillor Ian Lindley has said there is strong local opposition to the proposal.

Now he is teaming up with town councillor Alison Byard and residents to gather a petition against the plans.

He said: “The developers know very well that the local parish councils, other stakeholders and myself have proposed that this land be formally designated as greenbelt. They know this could well be agreed as the county is going through the required consultation on greenbelt now. In my opinion, this application is seeking to take advantage of this legal gap.”

Coun Byard added: “We are urging all residents interested in the wellbeing of Morpeth to look at these plans and make your views known.”

Residents are also urging people to have their say on the proposal and have highlighted the lack of infrastructure in place to support such a large development.

Pam Germaney, of the Morpeth Action Group, said: “Most residents of Stobhill are very clear that this huge estate would have a bad effect on the town.

“Morpeth already has plans for sufficient housing to meet our future needs.

“This will be located in areas where the supporting infrastructure already exists, or will be put in place before development.

“Traffic in the south of Morpeth is already very bad and our first schools are already full.”

Rachael Hogg, of Stobhill Manor, agreed.

She said: “This would create an out-of-town community, which is not what Morpeth is about. The character and culture of Morpeth is an ancient market town. To build an estate on the outskirts like this would create an out-of-town community like Cramlington. It would not benefit Morpeth at all.

“The infrastructure is just not there for this. The roads couldn’t cope, the schools couldn’t cope and the doctors wouldn’t be able to cope.

“If you look on Right Move there are over 600 houses for sale within three miles of Morpeth so it is not like there is no housing available for people.”

She also warned fellow objectors that time is running out to have their say on the plans as any comments must be submitted to Northumberland County Council by Thursday, September 12.

“The message is that if you don’t want this development you have to speak out and you only have a short time to do it,” she said.

The plans are for a mix of two to five bedroom executive homes, with 30 per cent set aside for affordable housing.

There would be children’s play facilities, ecological enhancements and a new wildlife wetland zone.

Objectors will be collecting a petition against the scheme in Morpeth Market Place on Saturday, from noon to 3pm.

Anyone seeking help with objections can contact Coun Byard on 07963 306549 or email alisonbyard65@gmail.com