MP Guy Opperman raps new homes plan for Corbridge as 'too big'

Hexham MP Guy Opperman has echoed concerns over 237 potential new houses at Corbridge

The area of the proposed development in Corbridge
The area of the proposed development in Corbridge

An MP has echoed concerns over a possible 240 new homes at an upmarket Northumberland community, claiming the development would be “simply too large.”

As previously reported by The Journal, Gladman Developments is working on plans for 237 houses on land off Milkwell Lane, a third of which would be affordable for local people.

A planning application has yet to be submitted but the company has begun public consultation with 1,125 leaflets delivered to homes and businesses seeking feedback, organisations and groups invited to give views, an exhibition held and a public meeting.

On the back of the meeting, Corbridge Parish Council Maurice Hodgson raised concerns about whether the village’s infrastructure could cope with so many new homes in terms of the impacts on traffic, parking, water and sewerage networks, and health facilities.

He called for Northumberland County Council to invest in that infrastructure before allowing hundreds of homes to be built, and claimed too much development could impact on the village’s value to visitors.

Hexham MP Guy Opperman has now echoed Coun Hodgson’s concerns.

He said: “I am very concerned that number of houses is simply too large of a development for the village. Serious consideration needs to be given to whether Corbridge’s infrastructure could cope. I seriously doubt it could.

“There are also clearly issues with access and traffic movements, especially with the increased number of cars such a large scale development would lead to.

“The important thing now is that Corbridge residents have their voices heard and I will pass any concerns on direct to planning officers ahead of any prospective application so they are fully aware of the issues raised.”

Hexham MP Guy Opperman
Hexham MP Guy Opperman

Gladman’s leaflet says: “Every council is required by the government to boost significantly the supply of housing and to make planning decisions in the light of a presumption in favour of sustainable development.

“Northumberland County Council do not presently have a five year supply of housing land. Approval of this development will help towards addressing the present shortfall of housing within the area.”

It adds: “The site is well located with good access to existing community facilities and the local public transport network.

“The proposal will provide new homes to sustain the vitality and viability of the local community.”

The leaflet adds that the development would include on site public open space with recreational facilities.

Gladman’s project manager for Corbridge, John Turton, told The Journal: “In terms of the Corbridge site, we have done our consultation alongside the parish council and we will be just working up to (a) planning application in the forthcoming weeks.”

It is understood the site Gladman is targeting was previously earmarked for housing by the now defunct Tynedale Council.

The scheme follows the approval of Taylor Wimpey’s plans for another 54 homes on two sites in the village last October.

A total of 36 open market houses will be built at Cragside, and 18 affordable houses at Synclen Avenue.

The company’s plans faced over 150 objections from residents and opposition from the parish council and the Friends of Corbridge 2013.

Approval came despite similar strong reservations about the impact of the scheme on the village’s education, sewerage and road systems.

In the county council’s core strategy proposals, Corbridge has been earmarked as a site for just 300 new houses over the next 18 years.

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