Lancaster Park residents have raised concerns about a comment that heavy goods vehicle (HGV) parking ‘comes with a lot of problems’ when such parking is part of a proposed major Morpeth scheme.
The reserved matters application for the non-residential elements of Mitford Estate’s outline scheme was submitted to Northumberland County Council last autumn by Euro Garages UK, which is part of EG Group.
It is seeking planning permission for a services area, hotel and ‘innovation centre’.
The outline bid for a greenfield site to the north and west of Lancaster Park was approved in September 2016. Both this and the reserved matters proposal were and are opposed by many Morpeth residents.
A group of Lancaster Park residents has come across a report in the East Lothian Courier about a planning meeting earlier this year where a new service station was given the go-ahead by East Lothian Council in Scotland.
When the issue of no HGV parking in the scheme was raised, Euro Garages’ planning manager is quoted as saying: ‘Our experience of other sites is HGV parking comes with a lot of problems. Local constabularies want CCTV and security fencing.
‘It is recognised by police these days that they are a focus for crime so we are not providing it’.
The firm says that ‘the two proposals are not comparable’ but Lancaster Park resident Keith Raine, who worked for what was then the Department of Trade and Industry for 30 years, disagrees.
He said: “It was hugely disturbing to read the comments by Euro Garages in the East Lothian Courier.
“The original outline planning application put the HGV parking adjacent to the bypass on the western perimeter of the site.
“The current proposal, virtually every aspect of which differs significantly from the outline plan, locates the HGV parking immediately adjacent to houses on Pinewood Drive, Lancaster Park.
“Northumberland’s planners and councillors are urged to ensure that their local council tax payers are afforded protection from heightened security risks, categorically recognised by Euro Garages in a Scottish context but which they are happy to ignore in Morpeth.”
An EG Group spokesman said: “EG Group’s proposals for land at Gladsmuir Junction in East Lothian differ fundamentally from our proposals in Morpeth.
“The permitted services at Gladsmuir Junction sit in an isolated and rural setting and do not lie on a Trunk Road. Trunk Road Services, such as proposed in Morpeth, are required to provide HGV parking by Government policy.
“The safety and security of our customers is vitally important and the HGV parking at Morpeth has been designed so as not to be isolated from the main services, will be well lit and have round the clock surveillance. This would not have been the case in East Lothian, which may have resulted in an increased crime risk. This is why we elected not to provide such a facility there.
“Any comments made regarding East Lothian were made specifically about that scheme, and in reference to local and Scottish planning policy. The two proposals are not comparable and parallels should not be drawn between them.”