Objections pour in over plan for 400 new homes in Morpeth

Plans for 400 homes on greenbelt between Morpeth and Hepscott are facing 500 objections from residents and two councils

Resident Alison Byard and Hepscott council's, Phil Ashmore, who are opposing the plans to build 400 houses on land near their homes
Resident Alison Byard and Hepscott council's, Phil Ashmore, who are opposing the plans to build 400 houses on land near their homes

Plans for almost 400 homes on greenbelt land between a Northumberland town and nearby village face more than 500 objections.

A planning application from Tees Valley Housing and Barratt David Wilson Homes for 396 homes on land between Morpeth and Hepscott has brought 516 objections from residents, two councils, an action group and the Coal Authority.

The application is to site the homes on land east of Stobhill roundabout at Hepscott. However, the objections have flooded in, including from Hepscott Parish Council and Morpeth Town Council. Morpeth Action Group, which has 236 members on its Facebook page, has also submitted a petition which 450 peoplehave signed, while 91 have signed an e-petition.

One letter of support has been lodged with Northumberland County Council.

Phil Ashmore, chairman of the Hepscott council, last night said: “We have objected very strongly.”

He said the parish has only around 400 houses at present and “they are proposing to double that in one estate”.

The councillor also claimed the site “forms a beautiful buffer between Morpeth and Hepscott” and that it would see the “spread” of the town continue to a point where “Hepscott will be coalesced with Morpeth.”

Coun Ashmore also said there are concerns around where rain which falls on the greenfield site will run off should housing be built on it, with fears it could end up in the Hepscott Burn, which has flooded in the past.

Opponents are also concerned at the increase in traffic heading North or into the centre of Morpeth via the town’s Telford bridge, a location already hit by congestion.

County councillor for Longhorsley, Glen Sanderson, has meanwhile asked the authority to hold a public meeting.

He claims the development is “unwelcome and very untimely” given that it has been lodged when the council’s core strategy planning guidance has yet to be completed and while fellow developer Bellway Homes is seeking to build another 200 homes at nearby Loansdean.

Barratt last night said its development would bring “major economic benefits” to the area, as well as generating hundreds of jobs.

The company claimed Morpeth is identified as an area for growth and new development and that its site is sustainable. The project would add- ress a shortage of new homes and a demand for family properties, it added, with 30% set to be affordable.

The county council’s planning committee will determine the application in due course.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer