Councillors decided to take a stand and refuse the latest in a series of bids for new homes in a hamlet near Ponteland, with one describing the road in as ‘a bombsite’.
At Monday night’s meeting of the Castle Morpeth Local Area Council, members unanimously rejected an outline application for two, two-and-a-half-storey houses on land north of Dyke House in Medburn, to the south-west of Ponteland.
Moving refusal over the access, council leader Peter Jackson said: “The Avenue has not been adopted and it’s just total, total chaos. Unless the developers in Medburn come to us and solve this issue, I think we should just refuse anything along there.”
Referring to a map showing the ongoing development in the hamlet, Coun Richard Dodd added: “It looks like someone’s shot Medburn with a shotgun.
“I’m not going to compare (The Avenue) to a place that’s been bombed, but it is like a bomb-site and there doesn’t seem to be any solution.”
Earlier in the meeting, councillors heard from an officer in the authority’s highways department that there are concerns about the state of The Avenue.
However, he said it was not felt to be grounds for refusal as a previous highways objection was rejected by a planning inspector at appeal in relation to a refused application for new homes back in 2011.
This same appeal decision ruled that Medburn, despite having no services and limited access to public transport, should be considered a sustainable location for housing due to its proximity to Ponteland, something which Ponteland Town Council disputed in its objection to this latest application.
Coun Glen Sanderson asked whether the inspector’s decision was still relevant given that it was a number of years ago, but Liz Sinnamon, from the council’s planning department, explained that the planners would take guidance from that decision until the issue is tested again at appeal.
Coun Sanderson later suggested adding the unsustainability of Medburn as a reason for refusal, which was accepted by the other members, saying: “I think we should put a flag up on this, even if it comes at a cost.”
Ben O’Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service