Housing plans are ‘premature’, say area councillors

MAJOR housing plans for Stobhill are premature while development plans are still under consultation, councillors say.

Around 100 people turned out for a public meeting last week to discuss the bid by Barratt David Wilson Homes and Tees Valley Housing to build 396 houses on a field next to the A192 and A196.

The meeting had been requested by county councillor for Hepscott Glen Sanderson and, at the end of the session, he said his own opinion on the proposal was unchanged.

He said: “I think it would be fair to say that we would all accept that Morpeth has to grow, but it has to grow in an appropriate way and a sensitive way and in a way that is suitable.

“At the moment, hundreds of people are spending thousands of hours working on the new Core Strategy and the Neighbourhood Plan for Morpeth. This process is crucial to complete.

“Until that process is completed, I feel this is a premature application. I felt it was premature and wrong before I came to the meeting and I still feel it is premature and wrong.”

Fellow councillor Ian Lindley, who represents Stobhill, shared the concerns.

“I don’t know a single person in Stobhill who is in favour of this development,” he said.

“Morpeth does need to grow, but it is the scale of this scheme – 400 houses is double the size of the existing Stobhill Manor and it would add 33 per cent more to this division. The scale is wrong and the impact on the infrastructure and schools will be massive.

“My other concern is the time-scale. It is premature. Right now we have people working on the Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan and the Core Strategy. These are crucial planning documents for the future of Morpeth and Northumberland.”

The meeting had been organised by Northumberland County Council’s North Area Planning Committee to hear residents’ views and answer their questions. The application is not expected to be determined before February.