Plans

Issues have not been addressed

As regular readers of the Herald are aware, many of Morpeth’s residents are outraged by the rash of development overwhelming our town, particularly on greenfield sites.

Mitford Estate’s proposals for a large-scale commercial and residential development on the northern fringe of the town has produced countless objections on every aspect.

Concerns about disposal of foul water, run-off, drainage and sewage treatment have been paramount.

Northumberland County Council, having considered these proposals, has sought more clarification on these matters, which Mitford Estate has now supplied.

These amendments, now in the public domain, may be scrutinised at http://publicaccess.northumberland.gov.uk

As with the initial proposals, we have 21 days to consider and object.

Numerous problems have been identified by the Environment Agency and Northumbrian Water concerning the channelling of foul water into the rivers Font and Wansbeck via the Cottingburn, Scotch Gill Burn and the Benridge Burn, as well as the small matter of what to do with the sewage from the proposed development as the sewage facility in Lancaster Park is at full capacity.

None of these issues have been satisfactorily addressed. Complicated solutions include several water treatment works, one near the proposed trunk road service area, small effluent treatment plants and reed beds. Mention is made of a “possible new pumping station to allow flows from north Morpeth to cross under the River Wansbeck and discharge into wastewater treatment works”.

In financial terms alone, these ideas are set to be prohibitive.

Mitford Estate is prepared to meet some of the cost to a maximum of £750,000. This is likely to be a mere drop in the ocean as it admits the final figure cannot be calculated at this stage.

Meanwhile, the Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan, a worthy document, prepared and adopted by our elected town council and having impressive support from Morpeth residents, is gathering momentum.

Mitford Estate has launched an objection to the Plan in the mistaken belief that it alone knows what is best for Morpeth.

Those of us who believe that our town is worth fighting for need to support the town council.

While we welcome the completion of the flood alleviation scheme and celebrate this landmark on August 24, let us not grow complacent. Morpeth’s ‘watery’ problems are far from over.

Penny Oxley

Pinewood Drive

Morpeth.