Major plans at key site in town

The masterplan for the County Hall, former fire station and Merley Croft sites. The road in light grey on the left is the A197 and the railway line is in dark grey on the right.
The masterplan for the County Hall, former fire station and Merley Croft sites. The road in light grey on the left is the A197 and the railway line is in dark grey on the right.

New homes and a supermarket are among the developments being proposed on the current County Hall, former fire station and Merley Croft sites in Morpeth.

Residents will be able to see the plans for the area in Loansdean, which also include smaller retail units, a cafe/restaurant and a pub in the commercial area and an already-announced scheme to relocate Morpeth First School, at a drop-in session next week.

Northumberland County Council put County Hall on the market earlier this year after the administration’s plans to move the headquarters to Ashington was approved by the cabinet, despite criticism from opposition groups.

Now it will present proposals that include a future outline planning application for residential development. House-builder Persona is seeking to provide up to 200 family homes, comprising of three, four and five-bedroom properties within landscaped parkland on the County Hall site, with new and improved footpaths and landscaping.

The council itself will submit a detailed bid for a new first school to replace the current school at Goosehill. This would be located to the front of the County Hall site.

The commercial element will come from Maple Grove Developments. It will seek full planning permission for its scheme in the council-owned buildings opposite the area allocated for Morpeth First School.

The drop-in session will take place in the County Hall restaurant on Thursday, November 3 from 3pm to 7pm. The project team will be available to discuss the proposals and answer any questions and there will be an opportunity to provide feedback.

Leaflets publicising the event are being delivered to a number of homes in Morpeth over the next few days.

Council leader Grant Davey said: “This is a great opportunity for local residents to come along and see proposals for the current County Hall site.

“There are a number of developments put forward for the site and we want people to be kept abreast of what is proposed and let the consultants know what they think.”