'˜Why were we not involved?'

Councillors have expressed concern about a '˜lack of involvement' in relation to plans by Longhirst Hall Golf Club for hundreds of new holiday homes.

Friday, 10th February 2017, 12:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th February 2017, 11:31 am
Ian Simpson beside his Hebron Road home which will be opposite a holiday lodge complex. Picture by Jane Coltman

And a resident who is building a house right next to the proposed access point believes there are safety issues that should prevent the access from being constructed in that location.

The golf club has put together an initial bid for 150 holiday lodges on its land.

If this is approved, it is anticipated that a further application for a second phase of 325 holiday lodges would follow.

The majority of lodges proposed in the plans that have been put forward are in the Pegswood civil parish area.

As well as raising objection issues, the response from Pegswood Parish Council includes the following: ‘The parish council is disappointed that it was not involved in any pre-application discussions, despite requesting to be so.

‘It is concerned that the adjoining parish council (Longhirst), which is less affected by these developments, was able to meet the developers and discuss the proposals prior to this full application being submitted.

‘The parish council requests that Northumberland County Council looks at the pre-application protocols to ensure that all relevant parties are involved in consultations with applicants.’

Ian Simpson and family are currently building a new house on Hebron Road and the proposed access is directly opposite the property.

He was missed off the standard neighbour consultation exercise, but says he received a swift apology and assurance that his comments would be taken into account.

A county council spokeswoman said: “The council’s pre-application protocol recognises the importance of the contribution of town and parish councils and seeks to provide an opportunity for developers to present their proposed schemes to them at an early stage.

“We did advise the applicant that Pegswood Parish Council would like to be involved in any pre-application discussions. We appreciate their concerns that this doesn’t seem to have happened to date, but have reassured them that the application is still being considered by the council and all views and comments made during the process will be fully taken into account.

“In relation to the neighbouring resident, we are afraid that this seems to have been a technical difficulty where the mapping system we use to generate notification letters does not have an address point on the site for the property. This may be because the dwelling is currently under construction.

“We have rectified this and assured the resident that his comments have been registered and will be taken into account.”

Mr Simpson agrees with Pegswood Parish Council’s suggestion that the better option for access to the site should be via the existing track which adjoins the junction of the B1377 and Hebron Road.

He said: “It’s a dangerous enough road as it stands because there are no footpaths and putting the access there would only make it worse.

“The people living in the lodges near Hebron Road who need to walk would not use the proposed pedestrian access through the golf club and instead walk along the edge of the road.”

In addition, he is not happy that the proposed area to put waste from the site is also near the home being built.

A highway safety assessment carried out on behalf of the applicant concluded that there are ‘no inherent highway safety issues in the vicinity of the site and the increase in traffic will not have a material impact on the road safety in the area’.