No end in sight for housing development in Morpeth

The waves of house-building in Morpeth show no sign of slowing down with a trio of planning proposals seeking permission for hundreds of new homes in the town.

By Ben O'Connell
Wednesday, 17 April, 2019, 14:00
Bellway wants to develop a site near Taylor Wimpey's St Andrew's Gardens scheme at Fairmoor. Picture by Jane Coltman

Linden Homes, the housing division of Galliford Try, has lodged a full planning application with Northumberland County Council for 159 properties, which are being described as phase 1B of the redevelopment of the former St George’s Hospital site.

Meanwhile, phase 1C, which is in outline as part of a hybrid bid with phase 1B, is to be an extra-care/community well-being facility with up to 80 units of accommodation.

Further out of town, by another hospital site, a scheme has been submitted by Bellway for 61 further homes at Fairmoor, on a site surrounded by the A1, Taylor Wimpey’s 225-home St Andrew’s Gardens development, Persimmon’s 218-home The Meadows and the petrol station.

The sections of the St George’s site in question already benefit from an outline permission, granted in June 2015, which also approved the details of the first 119 houses that are now largely complete.

This outline permission allows another 256 homes on the rest of the site, which the applicant now wishes to change so that the extra-care facility can be built, while phase 1B features 44 houses more than the 115 originally envisaged.

The new St George’s Hospital is to the north-east of the application site, with the under-construction phase 1A to the west. The south and east of the site are ‘strongly contained’ by Howburn Wood and Bluebell Wood, beyond which lies the A197.

To the north is the wider former hospital site, which benefits from a separate outline permission for up to 875 homes, local facilities and a new access road from the Morpeth Northern Bypass.

Phase 1B’s 159 homes would consist of 31 two-bedroom properties, 82 three-bedroom dwellings and 46 four-bedroom houses, a mix of detached and semi-detached, two-storey buildings.

The extra-care facility, which is in outline at the moment, would create up to 80 one and two-bedroom apartments, of mixed size and tenure, all of which would be affordable by definition.

The block would be predominantly three storeys in height with some elements reducing to two storeys ‘in order to break up the massing of the development and create visual interest within the site’.

This site also includes a former church which would be retained and incorporated into the development to house the communal facilities.

These would also be open for use by the wider community and would most likely include café/dining areas, lounge, hair salon, assisted bath and shower room, and a manager’s office.

Access would continue to be from the south from the junction of the A197/Dark Lane, with no access from the north.

A planning statement concludes that the extra-care scheme ‘weighs heavily’ in favour of granting permission at it would ‘go a long way towards addressing the specific needs of the increasing elderly population in this part of Northumberland while also satisfying the affordable-housing criteria’.

Bellway’s Fairmoor scheme is described in the application as the logical ‘infill’ to complete the North Morpeth development area.

It would feature 16 two-bedroom homes, 34 three-bedroom houses and 11 four-bedroom properties.

The two and three-bed dwellings would be a mix of terraced and semi-detached, all with off-street parking spaces, while the four-beds would all be detached with either integral or detached garages. A total of 15 visitor parking bays would also be provided within the site.

Access would be taken directly from the existing roundabout on the A192 to the west and use the existing field access to minimise disruption to the boundary hedge, which would be retained all around the site.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service