An outline bid for up to 25 homes at a site in a Northumberland village has produced a plethora of responses.
Unusually for a proposal of its type, the plans for land at Southcroft Stables, The Croft, in Ulgham have received more comments in support than objections.
But those against it have urged the county council to disregard the letters in favour, which have come from people living in other parts of Northumberland and further afield, as they believe they are irrelevant.
Applicant Peter Richardson is looking to build the new residential properties on a site approximately 1.49 hectares in area. It currently comprises of a paddock and an associated stable block.
If it is approved, six of the units would be classed as affordable and there would be an improved pedestrian connection through the provision of a footpath linking the site to the existing footpath at approximately 100m north of the entrance.
There are currently 37 people supporting the plans and 13 opposed.
One of those against is Ulgham resident Barbara Jones. Her response includes the following: ‘The infrastructure of the village does not lend itself to such a large increase in properties.
‘Ulgham Lane is a narrow road, in a bad state of repair. The junction to the main road does not give a clear view of on-coming traffic. The junction cannot be improved because of existing properties.
‘As most households will have at least two cars, there will be a substantial increase in traffic down Ulgham Lane and will result at some stage in an accident at the junction.
‘I also find it rather strange that many of the letters of support have the same wording and many of these letters are from people who do not live locally.’
Bryan Scott’s submission states: ‘Facilities in the village are limited as there is no school, village shop or doctors/dentist and the only amenities are the local pub and antique shop, which both open at weekends only.
‘People need to travel outside of the village for basic facilities and the additional houses could lead to potentially an extra 50 cars using already inadequate roads.’
The applicant says the scheme has been designed to reflect the character of Ulgham.
Its design and access statement includes the following: ‘The re-development of the site will create an enhanced area attracting more wildlife habitat opportunities and green connections to the west side of the site and beyond.
‘There is strong evidence supporting the principle that the re-development of this brownfield site is a highly sustainable development option.’
As well as raising traffic congestion and over-development concerns, Ulgham Parish Council disputes that the site is brownfield as stated – the authority says it has only been a house with equine facilities over the last 21 years.
The supporting comments include a submission by businessman Danny Orange from Ovingham.
It says: ‘This proposal is a good example of a development that should be supported and which provides a quality environment for families to reside in.’