Planning saga at key town site continues

The entrance to the site off Cottingwood Lane. Apartments and bungalows will be built on it if the application is approved by the county council.
The entrance to the site off Cottingwood Lane. Apartments and bungalows will be built on it if the application is approved by the county council.

A fresh bid for a new housing development in Morpeth, which was narrowly turned down by councillors in January, has been submitted.

The application by Peter Smith for apartments and bungalows in an area off Newgate Street at one end and Cottingwood Lane at the other includes the conversion of the grade II-listed former Northumberland County Council premises into 13 flats.

Residents living nearby were happy with that part of previous proposals, but they raised concerns over the plans for bungalows elsewhere on the site in previous bids.

The latest application would see one four-bedroom dormer bungalow, one three-bedroom dormer bungalow and two additional two-bedroom bungalows also being built.

Revisions have been made, but more than a dozen local residents have once again submitted objections.

The design and access statement on behalf of the applicant includes the following: ‘The new build element was considered too dense and the scale and aesthetic of the proposals also caused some concern with the local residents.

‘Accordingly, the client asked for the scheme to be reviewed and a less dense development of dormer bungalows has been pursued in line with comments from the local residents.

‘Although the client has lost potential revenue from the reduction in units, they are a local developer and keen to engage and respect the amenity of the residents and have therefore proactively accommodated their concerns within the final proposals.’
The objection of Peter Tilson states: ‘The revised proposals still do not address the concerns raised at the last area planning committee.

‘Although the dormer bungalows at the entrance of the site have been replaced with conventional lower height buildings, they remain too close to my property and the Grade II-listed building Kirkville on the corner of Cottingwood Lane and Butchers Lonnen.

‘The development is very close to Kirkville, compromising its setting as a listed historic building. It would also result in overlooking, loss of privacy, loss of light and overshadowing to the properties immediately adjacent to the site.’

There are letters of support from people elsewhere in Morpeth and surrounding villages.

When it came to the vote in January, three councillors were in favour of the officer recommendation to approve the previous application, four were against it and there were three abstentions.

The ‘substantial harm to Kirkville’, formerly a Presbyterian church, was among the reasons put forward by those against.