Traffic lights are the ‘only option’ for now

Would-be Morpeth developers have defended plans for new traffic lights, saying it is the only viable option.

However, Linden Homes says it is still open to a roundabout access for its proposed housing development at the former St George’s Hospital site if the required land becomes available.

Northumberland County Council and Morpeth Town Council are seeking to transfer land from Tommy’s Field Allotments to make way for a roundabout, with plots relocated to an area near East Riding care home.

But Linden representative Craig Taylor told the town’s Planning and Transport Committee that until the land is available, it must proceed with the traffic lights idea.

“At the moment the land is outside our ownership and we can only physically develop areas that we control,” he said.

“We are committed to provide potential land and funds to provide allotments in a desirable form. We are committed to seeing this through with the county council, but we are under third party pressure to get the planning application in and at this moment in time the only viable and deliverable option is a signalised junction.

“However, no junction improvements are required until we deliver the first 100 houses.”

Committee members gave a qualified thumbs-up to the bid for detailed planning consent for 119 homes and outline permission for a further 256.

They said the scheme was generally well designed and considered, with a good mix of house types on a preferred housing site, but conditions must apply to satisfy concerns about access, woodland management and provision of community facilities.

Acting Chairman Bob Robertson said: “This is one of the least obtrusive and most carefully considered development plans put forward for the town, but there are questions to answer.”

The application will be determined by the county council.