Services demanded for housing scheme

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Major concerns about traffic, community facilities and sewerage have been voiced over plans to build 225 houses at Northgate.

Outline planning permission for the development at the hospital site was granted by Northumberland County Council three years ago, and now Taylor Wimpey has submitted a full detailed application to activate the consent.

However, Morpeth Town Council, which previously accepted the plans in principle, says that circumstances have changed.

Members of its Planning and Transport Committee said that together with recent approval of a bid for 255 homes at nearby Fairmoor, the scheme will create a substantial population in the north of the town, with little services for the new residents.

Coun David Parker said: “The county council’s planning committee has created a new context. We are now faced with something like 500 houses being constructed in this area if this application goes ahead.

“The county council has approved 250 dwellings in relation to Persimmon and that raises all sorts of questions. It increases the population of the north west corner of Morpeth, which raises issues about services. This will be a significant development on the edge of the town and the nearest services, apart from the odd shop at Fairmoor, are in Morpeth town itself, over a mile away.

“The nearest school is at Lancaster Park and the road is not exactly user-friendly for parents and children getting from A to B.

“I don’t think the developer addressed the issue about sustainable drainage at all.

“This is not 50 houses we are talking about, it is up to 500. There is a need for both developers to be putting quite a bit of community benefit in if this is to go ahead.”

Fellow member Dave Pope raised concerns about access.

“The existing junction from the sliproad, which leads into Northgate Hospital, is dangerous enough when it just takes a small amount of traffic that Northgate generates so with hundreds of traffic movements here from this development it is going to become a significant hazard,” he said.

Coun Nic Best said the developer should be made to create a new sewage treatment works at the site, and of sufficient standard to be adopted by Northumbrian Water.

He said: “This could be a possible focus for sewage treatment for the north of the town. I would like to see this as a condition of the full planning approval.”

The committee also called for a co-ordinated approach to take account of the Fairmoor scheme.

The planning application will be determined by the county council.