Housing plans would treble size of hamlet

Clifton Caravan site at Morpeth.'REF 0309148660
Clifton Caravan site at Morpeth.'REF 0309148660

A bid has been lodged for a housing scheme that would increase the size of a hamlet by more than 200 per cent.

Broadlie Developments, in conjunction with IDpartnership and RWO Associates, has submitted a full planning application to build 36 executive houses in Clifton.

The scheme has been designed for land at the Clifton Caravan Centre, off Great North Road, and would provide three to five bedroom homes.

The applicants state that it would create efficient houses, attractive streets and a strong sense of community, while delivering investment and community benefits.

However, Clifton currently has just 17 homes and there is a fear that the scale of the scheme would alter its whole character.

Several local residents have lodged strong objections to the plans, citing a range of issues.

Concerns include a lack of community facilities and infrastructure, an increase in traffic, potential damage to the environment, the design being out-of-keeping, and increased flood risk to the A197, the hamlet itself and the village of Hepscott.

Residents also say there are no community benefits, the scheme is contrary to the emerging Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan and the plot is likely to become part of the Green Belt.

Morpeth Town Council has also objected to the proposal.

Members of the authority’s Planning and Transport Committee said the site is not identified for housing, is outside the settlement boundary, could increase flood risk and the current ‘industrial use’ classification should be protected for future employment opportunities.

The council said that the lack of services and facilities in Clifton would put more pressure on Morpeth and lead to more congestion, while the size of the development and the materials proposed would be detrimental to the visual gateway to Morpeth.

Acting Committee Chairman Bob Robertson said: “This is not in our parish, but as a neighbouring parish we have the opportunity to express our opinion. We thought there were so many things wrong with this application that it was appropriate to object.”

Neighbouring Hepscott Parish Council has also registered concerns. Chairman Philip Ashmore said: “We had a qualified objection. We thought there were a lot of unanswered questions about this and we hadn’t seen a flood risk assessment.”

Northumberland County Council’s Sustainable Drainage and Public Protection teams have raised objections relating to a lack of information about flood risk and noise.

Stannington Parish Council will consider the plans at a meeting next week.

The application is expected to be determined by the county council.