Public event for bid

RESIDENTS can have their say about a major housing proposal on the edge of Morpeth in person.

A public meeting has been arranged for Monday, December 16, at King Edward VI School (6pm start) about the bid for 396 homes on a site south of the A196, which is between Hepscott and Stobhill.

This will also allow people to get more information about the plans and ask questions of council officers and those representing the applicant – Barratt David Wilson Homes and Tees Valley Housing.

Hundreds of people, as well as county councillors, Hepscott Parish Council and Morpeth Town Council, have objected.

The request for such a meeting was made by Coun Glen Sanderson. The site is within his Longhorsley ward.

He said: “I’m pleased that the meeting has been agreed, because it’s absolutely essential that local people have a chance – if they want to take it – to be able to express their views, ask questions and fully understand all of the issues at stake.

“To me, something as crucial as this application needs to have a lot of public input, so I’m grateful to the north area planning committee for agreeing to my request.

“I hope the venue is packed to the rafters and the developers come along on the night so they can answer the questions that are put to them to make their position clear.”

Coun Sanderson added that he would like to see the proposal determined by the committee as soon as possible to end the uncertainty affecting the Stobhill and Hepscott communities.

Those against the development believe it would be inappropriate for the area as it would add to the traffic congestion that already takes place at peak times and put major strain on schools and services in the community.

Other points raised include that it would reduce the greenfield area between Morpeth and Hepscott and increase flood risk.

Coun Ian Lindley, who represents the Morpeth Stobhill ward, said: “It’s good that this meeting has been called, as it give residents all the details they need to decide whether or not they are for or against the plans.

“I thought that Barratt could have done more to promote its pre-application event, so this is an excellent opportunity for people to get involved and ask questions.”

In addition to the public meeting, the planning committee will carry out a site visit on the morning of Monday, January 13.

The plans are for a mix of two to five-bedroom executive homes, with 30 per cent set aside for affordable housing.

There would be children’s play facilities, ecological enhancements and a new wildlife wetland zone.