Site visit decision for major housing plans

Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.
Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.

A decision on a bid to build more than 100 homes in Pegswood has been put on hold.

Members of Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee asked a range of questions about developer Galley’s application for a mix of two, three and four-bedroom properties on land north east of Hebron Avenue during the meeting.

And a proposal to go on a site visit to look in more detail at some of the issues raised was supported by councillors in a majority vote.

The number of dwellings has been reduced to 118 from 125 in the original application and half of the 12 affordable housing provision would be bungalows.

But residents living nearby have continued to object to the proposal.

Kenneth Bodenham, speaking on behalf of Hebron Avenue residents, said: “I am not a Nimby and would not object to a sensible, sustainable development as envisaged in the Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan (MNP), which allocated 61 homes for this site.

“I understand, however, that the applicant would find it very difficult to make a profit from only 61 houses – well that’s their problem and they should have done their homework better.

“The exit from the site is a death trap and will remain so whatever road developments and traffic calming measures are put in place.

“The situation is further exacerbated by the Cookswell Mews development on the other side of Dark Lane, which believe it or not is to have two exits on to the road – one either side of the brow of the hill.

“There are only 13 properties on that site, but to have convergence from both sides of Dark Lane is to introduce nightmare conditions for our population.”

If the application is approved, a section 106 agreement will be sought including contributions to education (£301,400) and health (£72,900) in the village.

Coun Paul Williams, speaking on behalf of Pegswood Parish Council, said the scheme as it stands “will only increase the risk of accident to our residents and visitors”.

He also referred to the planning officer’s report, which states that the provision of play space on site or off-site is not sought as part of the application.

He said: “Like other matters within this application, it strikes us that no priority has been given to the views and voices of the residents of Pegswood.”

The report, which recommended approval, said the MNP does not place a cap on the number of homes at the site and suggested housing figures are included in a supporting text that does not form part of the policy itself.

Joe Ridgeon, speaking on behalf of the applicant, said: “There are no planning policy objections to the proposed development.

“The site has been carefully designed to meet the characteristics of Pegswood and a central green space is included.

“The proposal also includes safety measures to reduce the speed of traffic in the village, which has been called for by the parish council.”

When it came to the vote on the proposal to go on a site visit, nine councillors were in favour and two were against.