March organised against plans for County Hall site

Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade chairman Jacky Beesley.

Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade chairman Jacky Beesley.

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A group is giving residents and businesses in Morpeth, who oppose controversial proposals for housing and a commercial scheme, the chance to show their disapproval together.

A march to County Hall against plans for up to 200 new homes on part of that site and a development, described as a ‘retail park’ by opponents, on the former fire station and Merley Croft sites will take place on Friday, February 24.

It is being organised by the Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade. It will leave from the Market Place at noon.

Chairman Jacky Beesley said: “Northumberland County Council should start listening to the hundreds of businesses and residents who have overwhelmingly rejected the proposals.

“The retail report that the council has commissioned should also set alarm bells ringing, with a substantial loss of trade expected from the two main town centre supermarkets.

“The report fails to quantify the loss of trade that the rest of the town centre will suffer and also indicates that the applicant has not demonstrated a need for the proposal.”

Coun David Bawn, county councillor for the Morpeth North ward, said: “The last time Morpeth residents were this irate regarding the actions of the county council was regarding the traffic lights at Telford Bridge.

“The march then was successful and led to an eventual climbdown by the council. Let’s hope this march is as successful.”

A spokeswoman for the county council said: “We are aware of the planned march.

“As we have previously said, all comments made in response to the planning applications will be taken into account by the strategic planning committee in due course.

“The applications will be considered against all relevant national and local planning policies, including the Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan and saved policies of the Castle Morpeth Local Plan.”