Objections remain despite changes

The entrance to the site off Cottingwood Lane. Apartments and bungalows will be built on it if the application is approved by the county council.
The entrance to the site off Cottingwood Lane. Apartments and bungalows will be built on it if the application is approved by the county council.

Residents living near a proposed new housing development in Morpeth at a site that includes grade II-listed former Northumberland County Council premises still have concerns despite changes to the scheme.

Morpeth Town Council has also lodged an objection to the bid by Peter Smith for apartments and bungalows in an area off Newgate Street at one end and Cottingwood Lane at the other.

The application consists of three separate elements – the conversion of the listed properties fronting onto Newgate Street into flats, three new houses backing on to the boundary with Orchard Mews and two homes backing on to Butcher’s Lonnen in close proximity to Kirkville.

The most recent design and access statement by Gradon Architecture on behalf of the applicant includes the following: ‘The new build element was considered too dense and the scale and aesthetic of the proposals also caused some concern with the local residents.

‘Accordingly, the client asked for the scheme to be reviewed and a less dense development of dormer bungalows has been pursued in line with comments from the local residents’.

Colin Wardle, an architect by profession, spoke on behalf of the residents at a meeting of the town council’s planning and transport committee,

In relation to the three homes element, he said: “They will create overbearing massing due to the elevated ground level, scale of the houses and the proximity to the existing properties and overshadowing to primary living space to 3 Orchard Mews.”

With the two homes near the entrance off Cottingwood Lane, the concerns include the “blocking of light to Kirkville’s ground floor windows facing Butcher’s Lonnen”.

He also said it is “very disappointing” that the scheme proposes to remove two large lime trees at the centre of the site.

Although some councillors on the committee said the conversion of the vacant listed properties is to be welcomed in principle, the whole development plan brings up various objection issues.

These include ‘overmassing’ of the bungalows, ‘additional road safety issues for Cottingwood Lane’ and ‘the unacceptable removal of trees’.