Single hearing for firm’s two appeals

APPEALS against two planning-application refusals for a green site in Morpeth will be dealt with at one hearing.

Bellway Homes submitted a bid for 200 homes near Loansdean in 2011 and this was turned down by the county council’s north area planning committee in February 2012.

When the developer appealed, the authority pulled out of defending this decision and the South Morpeth Coalition was left to argue the case for why the homes should not be built in that area at a hearing in Morpeth Town Hall.

It was victorious when the appeal was dismissed in August 2012. However, Bellway challenged the ruling over housing-need figures and the matter is currently being reconsidered by a different planning inspector,

The matter was going to be decided through written representations, but the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) has now decided that a hearing would be appropriate.

As this process was going on, Bellway put forward a revised bid for the site south of The Chip for 186 homes, with 50 per cent affordable housing. Other amendments included an increase in homes for affordable rent, changes to a roundabout on the A197 and increased landscaping.

The committee refused this application in September despite officers recommending approval. The company appealed this decision too, and although the South Morpeth Coalition asked for two separate hearings, a letter from PINS says ‘it would be appropriate to link the above appeal to the new appeal, because they involve the same site and very similar proposals’.

A Bellway spokesman said: “We welcome the decision to have just one inquiry and we look forward to presenting our case in the New Year.”