Housing plans for hospital site

Proposals for the former St George's Hospital, Morpeth'The masterplan
Proposals for the former St George's Hospital, Morpeth'The masterplan

PLANS have been revealed to turn a redundant hospital into a new Morpeth housing estate.

A development scheme has long been expected for the St George’s Hospital site to the north of the town.

And yesterday local residents were given a first glimpse of what it could entail as an exhibition was held at the Town Hall by developer Linden Homes.

The company, which is the housing division of construction business Galliford Try, has been selected by site owner the Homes and Communities Agency to deliver the first phase of a three-stage development of the plot.

A total of 375 two and three-storey homes are proposed, with up to 30 per cent classed as affordable housing, though final figures have not been decided.

Many of the hospital buildings have fallen into disrepair since its closure in 1995 and are structurally unsound. However, some, such as the chapel, water tower and central administration block, are likely to be retained.

The scheme would include public open space and play areas and 200 to 300 new trees could be planted.

The developer says the plans would provide a direct investment of £45million into the local community, offer more than £2.7million to Northumberland County Council in a New Homes Bonus payment, and provide up to 560 jobs during construction, with the bulk of the work awarded to local contractors. There would also be opportunities for apprenticeships.

A woodland-management programme would be introduced for the neighbouring Bluebell and Howburn Woods and new parkland would be open to the public.

Drainage systems would include swales to carry storm water and permeable paving for surface water to drain into a pond, where it would be released at a controlled rate.

Development Director Craig Taylor said: “Since we were appointed by the HCA, we’ve been looking at the opportunities that the St George’s site provides and developing our initial proposals, including an early master plan.

“We are now at the stage where we would like to get local residents involved. We want to know what they think about our plans for new homes, which would include affordable housing. There is a need for new homes locally. Northumberland has identified that and we believe St George’s is an appropriate and sustainable site.”

He added: “We are keen to get local input into our plans. After all, it will almost certainly be local people who would be moving in if we get permission.

“We’ll analyse the feedback received, develop the scheme further and look to submit a planning application by the end of the year.”

Detailed plans will be submitted for 120 homes, with the remainder forming an outline application.

For further information about the proposal, or to comment, visit www.linden homes.co.uk/community/stgeorges. Alternatively, call freephone 0800 298 7040.