Retirement flats ‘could hit projects in pipeline’

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Concerns have been raised that a proposed scheme for a prime Morpeth location could harm the prospects for new community developments by the river.

McCarthy and Stone’s planning application for 55 new retirement apartments on the former Davidsons of Morpeth site near Telford Bridge was submitted in July.

It also includes the provision of communal facilities, landscaping and car parking.

At a meeting of Morpeth Town Council’s planning and transport committee, members said that some form of development is needed because it is not good that the land is vacant.

However, they raised fears that it could sterilise the area in terms of any future commercial development, including leisure and arts schemes identified during the Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan process.

Coun Nic Best said: “If the apartments were built, its residents would be justified in opposing any commercial plans nearby because of the impact they would have on their amenity.”

The committee also believes that the height, size and scale of the scheme is inappropriate and Coun David Clark said the design was ‘hideous’.

The objections from the Morpeth Flood Action Group include the following: ‘The applicant proposes to raise ground levels within the development rather than capture surface water and discharge it into the River Wansbeck.

‘The result of this proposal would be to cause increased flooding on Bennetts Walk and Middle Greens generally.’

McCarthy and Stone said that out of the 59 responses it received during a consultation period before the application was submitted, 43 were either fully supportive of the bid or supportive with comments.