FURIOUS residents are at battle stations to fight off changes to approved housing plans.
Several householders around The Kylins in Morpeth have spoken of their dismay over the loss of trees and damage to roads at the Charles Church development on the site of the former borough council headquarters.
Now they say they are facing even more upset as the developer seeks to amend the original permission to change the layout of houses, roads and parking provision, and amend approved house types.
Elaine Black, of The Kylins, said: “We are just all dismayed because we worked so hard on the original plans to keep The Kylins and its character as it was, with its lovely green areas and tranquil estate.
“Now we have lost all the wildlife that ever lived in this area – the bats, red squirrels and foxes – and they have taken down trees. They say these are minor amendments to the plans – they are not, they are major changes and I think they will affect the whole estate. They are going to impact on everyone who lives here.”
Her granddaughter Chloe Webley added: “I feel that it is very threatening. People just want an ordinary life and this is very negative towards them. These people have been very reasonable and all their effort and time to get an appropriate development has now been for nothing.”
Alan Armstrong, of Sweethope Dene, said: “Years ago, we agreed with the plans, but we debated for many months about them and there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing and all sorts of meetings. After all that effort they are now going to go back to the original proposals that we opposed.
“The planning officers should have just said no before it got to this stage.”
The amended plans put forward by Persimmon Homes, the parent group of the developer, are to relocate previously approved homes, substitute split-level house types for two-storey previously approved and for associated road patterns, parking, landscaping and boundaries.
In another application, it proposes to flip plots 38 to 44, together with related parking.
But residents say the change to layout is a major concern.
Maureen Howes, of The Kylins, said: “The new houses were supposed to use a different road to ours, but now they are changing them round so they will come onto our road. The parking is going to be awful.”
Neighbour Maureen Waterston added: “They want to turn some of the houses around so they are facing us, but we strongly objected to that at an early stage because we felt the road wasn’t wide enough.
“We park our cars on the road because we haven’t got enough drive space and of the seven houses they are planning, three will have a single drive. It is totally inadequate.”
And Anne Gayner said: “There is a field down here where children play all the time in the summer and when the first developer came in everyone was adamant that there should be no traffic coming down this road so it was going to go in at the edge of the estate and there would be no access from The Kylins.
“If they now flip the houses around the new people are going to be trying to park on this street so the residents of The Kylins will have nowhere to park and it is going to cause more traffic. There should be no traffic down here.”
Terrence Ellison, of Sweethope Dene, said: “We have got the short end of the stick because the new houses and car parking spaces are going to be right on the edge of our perimeter and they are making a right mess. They are pushing everything right on to us.
“They say the houses will go back 10metres, but the one nearest us is changing from a dormer bungalow to a two-storey house so the overlooking is going to be terrible.”
County councillor Andrew Tebbutt did not wish to comment on the applications, but he said there are problems with the condition of the road due to the development.
“It is in an appalling state and it was only recently resurfaced and adopted, and a lot of the residents had to pay towards that. There are things the developer has to put right,” he said.
Charles Church North East Regional Chairman David Jenkinson insisted the proposed changes are minor and said consultation has been carried out.
He said: “Since acquiring the site, we have worked in partnership with the council to ensure all planning requirements have been addressed openly and transparently. The minor changes now proposed were the subject of extensive pre-application discussion with council officers, following which we undertook consultation with local councillors and the residents’ association.
“The changes suggested, which sought to introduce further off-street parking, provide better connection to open space and ensure overlooking distances are adhered to, have been taken fully on board.
“To assist residents’ understanding of the changes, a three dimensional drawing was prepared, which further demonstrates that the changes represent a more attractive design, whilst maintaining or exceeding all planning spacing standards and highway standards.”
He added: “We will continue to work closely with the planning officer to ensure that any matters of concern are fully addressed.”