Hundreds oppose homes plan

A 200-HOME housing estate on the edge of Morpeth could get the go-ahead tonight, despite widespread opposition.

A 463-name petition and 214 letters of objection have been submitted over the application to build 200 homes on greenfield land at South Loansdean.

Morpeth Town Council and the Morpeth Civic Society have also opposed the Bellway scheme, arguing it is the wrong location.

But planning officers have recommended approval of the proposal, including outline consent for an associated commercial development, when it goes before the county council’s North Area Planning Committee tonight.

They say that while the scheme is a departure from Local Plan policies, the principle is acceptable in light of changing national objectives, and the 50 percent element of affordable housing is a special circumstance.

However, objectors argue that brownfield sites to the north of Morpeth would be more appropriate.

David Holden, who is a member of the South Morpeth Coalition opposing the scheme, said: “It seems extremely difficult to understand how the officers have reached the conclusion they have and recommended approval of housing on this site. They have looked at the evidence and seem to have come to opposite conclusion to what would have been appropriate.

“There is no shortage of housing in Morpeth, which they admit from their own numbers.

“With the link road coming through to the north it just follows that the existing council policy to develop to the north of Morpeth is going to be more sustainable and more suitable for housing. It seems a nonsense to build to the south when they know it is going to cause more problems in the town centre.

“I know the officers are attracted by the affordable housing element and nobody disputes that we need affordable housing, but it would be much more appropriate to build it to the north on the brownfield sites that are already there. We just have to convince the councillors that this view should prevail.”

The plans provide for a mix of two to five-bedroomed semi-detached and detached homes, with 33 for social rent and 67 for discount market sale.

Access would be from a new four-armed roundabout off the A197 at the junction with Southgate Mews, with some trees removed.

The report states that there will be no adverse impact on highway safety or ecology, and existing school and medical provision in the town could cope.