Allotment land swap moves closer

The transfer of allotment land to make way for a new roundabout has been approved by town councillors.

Morpeth Town Council’s Property and Assets Management Committee agreed unanimously to apply to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, for land to be taken from Tommy’s Field Allotments off Dark Lane.

The deal will allow the construction of a roundabout into the St George’s Hospital site, serving proposed housing developments and Morpeth NHS Centre.

Councillors heard that 460sq m of land would be lost, affecting parts of seven allotments, but land amounting to 5,060sq m would be provided for new plots beside East Riding residential home.

Conditions for the land swap would ensure appropriate access, car parking, security and water supply.

Coun Andrew Tebbutt said: “The new site is much bigger than the 460sq m being lost – 5,060sq m is the gain – and 3,300sq m of that is currently being farmed and is in a good condition.

“At this stage, there is no reason why we can’t say it is more than adequate.”

Coun David Clark said: “It is a tricky decision, but it has to be for the greater good. It’s a cracking deal for the town.”

Coun Alison Byard added: “There is also a safety issue because the current access to the health centre is dangerous.”

And Coun Les Cassie said: “What is proposed is exactly right. The offer is for a considerably larger site, which the town council needs for the proper provision of allotments.”

Members said it is important that the Tommy’s Field Allotment Association is compensated appropriately in the planning process for the disruption.