Development raises fears of further flooding

Concerns have been raised about plans to discharge surface water and treated sewage from a housing scheme in the north of Morpeth into the Cotting Burn.

Persimmon Homes’ outline application for 255 new properties at a site south-west of Northgate Hospital, Fairmoor, was approved by a vote of three to two at a meeting of Northumberland County Council’s north area planning committee earlier this month.

The development will incorporate a series of sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) and whilst the design of these ponds needs to be assessed in detail at the reserved matters stage, the county council’s SuDS officer James Hitching said that the firm has satisfactorily demonstrated an achievable solution for dealing with surface water run-off for the purpose of an outline application.

In addition, treated sewage flows will also go into the burn as a temporary measure until upgrades are carried out so they can connect into the wider mains network. The Environment Agency has granted an environmental permit with stringent conditions.

But these measures have angered a number of residents living next to the Cotting Burn in the northern end of Morpeth town centre who have been repeatedly flooded in recent years.

The town council raised concerns about this issue at the meeting and the Morpeth Flood Action Group (MFAG) was among the objectors.

MFAG member Tom Smith said: “The culverts can only take a certain amount of water and there is a limit to the number of pond storage areas you can have before you get flooding problems.

“We believe this limit has already been reached for the Cotting Burn.”