Complaint over council’s ‘lack of enforcement’ in hamlet

Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.
Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.

Following concerns raised by people living in a hamlet near Ponteland at a recent planning meeting, one of the residents has made a formal complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman.

A range of small housing developments have been built and are being constructed in Medburn.

Residents are also awaiting the start of work on 50 new dwellings by Miller Homes on a 4.4-hectare site north of The Avenue, which was approved last year, and the application by Bellway Homes North East for 62 new residential properties on a 6.6-hectare plot of land adjacent to the opposite side of The Avenue was given the green light by a majority vote of Northumberland County Council’s Castle Morpeth Local Area Council last month.

Although provision for up to 200 new homes was included in the former Castle Morpeth Council’s Medburn Masterplan, residents say this document makes it clear that infrastructure improvements should also take place and this has not happened.

Among their other concerns is the state of the main road along The Avenue, which is being used by construction vehicles.

At the local area council meeting, Margaret Chaytor, who spoke against the Bellway bid, said: “Development in Medburn over the past three years has been haphazard and thoughtless.”

And now another resident has written to the Local Government Ombudsman about these issues.

Her submission includes the following: ‘We believe there has been a horrendous lack of planning conditions being put onto these developments, allowing developers to do as they please at the severe dismay of residents surrounding such developments.

‘When conditions have been breached, we do not believe that the local authority has given proper consideration to the severity of these breaches.

‘Residents have expressed a grave concern for the condition of the road and we are regularly blocked into our dri-veways as construction traffic queues up to get into sites.’

A county-council spokeswoman said: “We understand the concerns of residents and have been actively considering the issues raised.

“This is rather a unique situation in terms of the number of developments all under construction at the same time.

“Unfortunately, not all the issues can be addressed through planning enforcement – only those that are conditions of the planning permissions.

“We have been in discussion with the developers about conditions that are outstanding and will be monitoring the situation. We have also raised the issue of dirt on the roads from vehicle wheels.

“The road in question is not adopted by the council and therefore we unfortunately cannot deal with pothole issues at this time.”