Green light for land transfer despite association concerns

The area where the new roundabout will be built.
The area where the new roundabout will be built.

Plans for a new roundabout on Dark Lane in Morpeth have been given the go-ahead by the Government.

The town council applied for a land transfer to enable the facility to be built to provide safer access to the Morpeth NHS Centre and new housing development at the former St George’s Hospital site.

It has now been granted by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the works will take place once just over 100 of the homes are occupied, but the Tommy’s Field Allotment Association is disappointed with the decision because land from about seven of its plots is required to accommodate the roundabout.

Although a larger site near the East Riding care home has been identified for replacement and additional allotments, members believe that works need to be carried out to make them suitable for people with accessibility issues.

Phil Slater, chairman of the association, said: “Although we welcome more allotment land in Morpeth, we’re surprised the transfer was approved given that the alternative land is unsuitable for people with mobility issues at the moment.

“It is far too steep as it stands.

“We question why the roundabout has to be so big. It will be some five or six times larger than the ‘dimple’ roundabouts throughout the town, which seem to function quite adequately, so we can’t see how it can be justified.

“Our fear is that this could lead to a road being built round the back of Bennett’s Walk and over the river then through our land to link up with the new roundabout.”

Northumberland County Council planners have previously said a larger roundabout is needed given the level of traffic that will use the junction.

A town council spokeswoman said: “DCLG has given consent for the disposal of 0.046 hectares of Tommy’s Field Allotment land.

“The town council regrets the loss of part of a community facility, but it recognises that in the interests of safety and required housing development, the proposal to create a roundabout is essential.

“It is satisfied that the offer of a new allotment site in the town is suitable compensation for the small loss of land.”