ANGRY residents are gearing up for another planning battle as an appeal is launched to build a new Morpeth home.
Plans initially came forward to build the three-storey, three-bedroom property on a patch of land at the entrance to Dene View, off the A192, last autumn.
But they attracted fierce opposition from residents, with a 200-name petition collected against the development and 18 individual letters of objection submitted.
Morpeth Town Council and Morpeth Civic Society also opposed the application and in November, it was turned down by Northumberland County Council’s North Area Planning Committee by six votes to one, with two abstentions.
Now, however, applicant John Hare is taking the matter to appeal.
The appeal will be done through written representations, rather than a public inquiry, but objectors are determined to make their concerns heard again.
Last week, Morpeth Town Council’s Planning and Transport Committee agreed to re-state its objections on the grounds of potential damage to the green corridor and wildlife at the entrance to the town, setting a precedent for development, the oversized design for the plot and traffic and parking concerns on a busy road that is already considered an accident blackspot.
Members will also strengthen their arguments that the application will hamper residents’ ability to draw up a Neighbourhood Plan for the town and decide for themselves where development should and should not be allowed.
Coun Ken Brown said: “We can certainly strengthen objection six, which says that Morpeth is developing a Neighbourhood Plan for residents to determine where development should take place.
“It has moved on in the last two or three months since this application last came before us.
“While we still haven’t got the Neighbourhood Plan in place, we are developing a vision for it and the outcome so far is that one of the things we ought to maintain is the green corridors in Morpeth.
“That has specifically been noted in our workshops so it is likely to appear in the Plan.”
Coun David Parker added: “The prematurity argument isn’t quite as strong here as it is for a major application, but it still stands.
“I still think we can expand objection six.
“It won’t do any harm, it won’t detract from any objections that are being raised by local people or ourselves and it might be helpful.”
The committee agreed unanimously.
Objector Maureen Davison, of Pottery Bank Court, told the committee: “Thank you for your continued support. Everyone is really grateful.
“The 18 objectors I represent are the people who would be most affected by this development.
“They are very upset that Mr Hare has decided to disregard the body of public opinion against this development, but at the same time we are very grateful for the council’s continued support, and to Morpeth Civic Society as well.
“Those two organisations should know what is best for this town.
“Pottery Bank Court was subject to stringent heritage considerations when it was built and any building here, even though it is outside the Conservation Area, still has an impact on the Conservation Area.”
The objectors previously raised concerns about the proposed building’s siting and design, overlooking for neighbours, over-development of the plot, the lack of parking facilities in the area, flood risk, the impact on wildlife and the sewerage network, and road safety.
The plans are for a three-bedroom house, with parking for two vehicles, a garage and a garden.