Kylins go-ahead a ‘kick in the teeth’ for locals

A DECISION to award planning consent for changes to a Morpeth housing scheme has been branded a “kick in the teeth” for locals.

Last week the Herald revealed that Planning Inspector Graham Snowdon had granted an appeal by Charles Church North East to amend its plans for The Kylins site, despite the changes going against a development brief that was carefully negotiated with local residents.

Now Morpeth Town Council’s Planning and Transport Committee, which objected to the proposal, is preparing to consider the implications of the decision for that specific site and future applications in the wider area.

And at a meeting of the full council last week, Coun Mark Horton hit out at the decision.

“The developer wanted to make some changes to The Kylins development plan, the county council planning committee turned down those changes, but we learnt earlier this week that the developer went to appeal and the inspector has come down completely on the side of the developer,” he said.

“He has accepted everything the developer has said, which I take as a kick in the teeth for this council, for Northumberland County Council and for the residents.

“The inspector also added that the road is now the responsibility of the council to sort out and the developer doesn’t even have to repair it.

“It is important that our planning committee sees these documents because there are elements in the decision that will inform the committee’s response to overall planning principles.”

The application involves ‘flipping’ some of the housing plots to face onto the main Kylins distributor road, creating parking spaces off the road, changing house types on part of the site and adding an extra property to the development.

However, locals argued that the amendments are a major departure from the development brief and will create road safety, traffic and parking problems, change the character of the area and cause problems of overlooking and loss of privacy.

Resident Maureen Howes has also raised concerns about the appeal process as objectors have not received details about the decision unless specifically requested.

“I realised I hadn’t had a response to my comments and there are quite a few of us who don’t know the reasons why the inspector came to the conclusion he did,” she said.

“It seems that unless you asked for a copy of the decision you didn’t get one. I wouldn’t like to think I’m stupid, but I have obviously missed something there.

“When people are fighting these things there should be a way of communicating with everybody.

“Those who are not au fait with the procedure must be helped to understand how to get their message heard and be responded to.”