More development possible for some villages

FUTURE development could be encouraged in Pegswood, but restricted in Hebron, Hepscott and Mitford.

The Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan has thrown up different strategies for the various villages to protect their characters, while making for more sustainable communities.

In Pegswood, the parish council has ambitions to ensure more housing choice, a better range of services and more employment, creating a more vibrant village centre.

It is also keen to tap into opportunities provided through the Morpeth Northern Bypass, expected to be completed in 2016, which would give a direct link to the A1.

A vision for the village includes:

l Mixed use development to the rear of the social clubs and East Farm for retail, residential and leisure use.

l Provision of market, social and affordable housing to the north of Pegswood First School, Brocksburn Park and the Cookswell Estate, also potentially on the industrial estate if the facility can be relocated, and possible sheltered housing next to the medical centre and at Cookswell Garage if it can be relocated.

l Inclusion of Pegswood First School in the Morpeth school pyramid.

l Identification of land between the railway and Pegswood Bypass for employment and business use.

l A master plan to develop the Welfare Park, incorporating a five-a-side pitch from the Ex-Servicemen’s Club and possible expanded sports and leisure facilities to the west.

l Enhanced public transport services, including a park and ride connection to Morpeth.

l Enhanced Community Park.

l Retention of the strong green buffer between Pegswood and Morpeth.

The Plan groups have said that the integrity of Hebron, Hepscott and Mitford should be retained to avoid them coalescing with Morpeth.

Hebron would need protection from development associated with the bypass to prevent merging, and careful planning is needed to prevent risk to its identity, historic buildings, landscape and isolation. In Hepscott it is considered that as it expanded rapidly in the 20th century any further development could damage its historic character and only limited infill should be considered.

Isolated farm buildings around Mitford could potentially be developed as small industrial units, with some limited housing possible around Tranwell, Gubeon and Wellhill Plantations, but generally it is thought that scope for development is limited.

In all three cases there is support to retain the existing settlement boundaries.

Mitford Parish Council Chairman Mike Sharp said: “The challenge now is to encourage people to read the Issues and Options documents and respond to them. Mitford is a very lovely village in a beautiful setting so we want to maintain that, and particularly the green corridor between Morpeth and Mitford. Virtually everybody in Mitford comes to shop in Morpeth so there is also a great interest in the town and the way it develops.”