Questions remain over County Hall sell-off proposal

AN angry councillor has hit out at a ‘whitewash response’ to his questions about County Hall sell-off plans.

Morpeth North member David Bawn submitted questions to Northumberland County Council earlier this month, seeking information about the Administration’s proposal to close the authority’s Morpeth headquarters and move staff to smaller town centre bases around the county.

He asked about the site’s ability to accommodate 2,000 houses, as had been suggested, the impact on the Core Strategy, and the estimated value of the site.

Now Council Leader Grant Davey has replied, stating: “The review of the options for County Hall will include reviewing the potential development value for the site should the offices be relocated.

“The Leader did not mention 2,000 houses – this is the level of affordable housing he would like to see.

“Discussions will be taking place with Development Services and any proposals will go through the proper process.”

He said work was ongoing to assess all potential housing sites and there will be consultation on the results to inform the Core Strategy. The timetable could not be confirmed.

Coun Bawn said: “I asked specific questions of the Administration to try to get it to outline more fully the proposals. Rather than address any of the specific concerns, I have received a whitewash response, which essentially says nothing.

“The Administration has set this hare running to the great consternation of the people of Morpeth and the employees at County Hall. It seems it is still unable to articulate exactly what it is planning, leading to ongoing uncertainty.”