Mitford Estates has submitted a second application for its big plan for the northern edge of Morpeth, described as an attempt to support ‘employment’ and ‘affordable housing’.
This comes two months after Northumberland County Council rejected unanimously its first application as it did not meet with the Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan or NCC Core Strategy. There were many legitimate and articulate objections to the proposal, but notably few in support of it. The second application shows nothing of significant difference.
NCC did not advise a reduction in houses or planting of more trees, though the applicant suggests these amendments in its new application are to placate residents. Mitford Estates and Signet Planning claim they have addressed the concerns raised by residents in this second application. I belive this is not the case.
We seem to be expected to commend Mitford Estates on its tireless and altruistic efforts to ‘support’ economic regeneration and employment in such hard times. Perhaps residents should be shameful that they even dare to suggest this is an attempt by Mitford Estates to gain financially? Why would anyone want to protect the green approaches to a town full of character, beauty and tranquillity if by placing a lorry park, service station, hotel and retail units, as well as houses, this enhances the economic growth of Northumberland? After all, it is offering a ‘country park’ tagged on.
The people who will really gain from this employment opportunity are likely to be the commercial stakeholders, not local people. People need to wake up and stop sleep-walking because if we let this happen then the character of Morpeth will be lost forever.
The urban sprawl that we are seeing in Morpeth is apparently beneficial for the locality, according to those who have sanctioned it. Mitford Estates insists its plan will be great for Morpeth, so why is it that nobody wants it?
My family has contributed to the Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan document alongside councillors and people who care about Morpeth exercising their democratic right. The fact that the applicant has suggested it will contest the Plan is offensive to those who care about their town and have contributed to the MNP.
The council and residents must have the mettle to take on any legal challenge. If we don’t, this will open up a’ free for all ‘ for developers.
We are already experiencing the problems residents have raised in relation to traffic congestion, lack of infrastructure, school places, dentist, GP and health provision in Morpeth. This is before the town experiences the full impact of the developments which have already started in the town.
Development is, of course, necessary, but it has to be measured and planned carefully, which the MNP seeks to address. I don’t see a flurry of people buying these new houses that are apparently so desperately needed. The outline planning application by Mitford Estates adds a further burden to Morpeth.