New apartments bid ‘does not address key issues at site’

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Concerns have been raised about plans to build 20 new apartments in Ponteland.

The application by Sufi Ahmed is for a four-storey building with parking on the ground floor and residential accommodation to the three upper floors at a site off Main Street and Callerton Lane.

To the west of the site is a bank of mature trees dividing it from Brewery Lane and to the south, a bridge across the River Pont connects to the B6323 and Callerton Lane.

The north is bounded by Lloyds TSB Bank and a restaurant and the east of the site sees another bank of mature trees provide screening from the B6323 road and Callerton Lane.

In the design and access statement, the applicant says that to reduce the building’s perceived height, the top floor has been ‘specifically designed to be subservient to the rest of the building, creating a visual eaves line at the third floor, much the same as the height of the surrounding context’.

More than 10 objections have been submitted so far and those against the bid include Ponteland resident Patrick Cooper.

He said: “A four-storey building with a flat roof is considered out of keeping with the surrounding buildings and unsuitable for the conservation area.”

“The site layout needs to address how cars will practically manoeuvre to both get into and out of the parking spaces, and routes for emergency vehicles.”

Ponteland Town Council’s response says: ‘Whilst we’re not against housing on this site in principle, we have serious concerns about this application.

‘The site has a history of extensive flooding and the development may adversely affect drainage.

‘The proposed orientation would present an overwhelming frontage (to Callerton Lane and the River Pont) in a visually prominent position in the centre of the conservation area.

‘If the building was rotated 180 degrees with suitable internal layouts, it would blend in better with its surroundings and be more sympathetic to this sensitive location (it is next to wildlife and landscape corridors)’.

There is a letter of support from Lauren Scott, a long-standing resident and business owner in Ponteland.

It says: ‘The land clearly needs to be improved and developed, as this vast area is simply wasted and it’s currently causing nuisance issues.

‘There is a lack of smaller sized accommodation across the Ponteland area, especially for younger professionals.’