Villagers still opposed to Northumberland Estates new homes plans

Northumberland Estates' plans for almost 130 new homes in Shilbottle, Warkworth and Lesbury will go before councillors tomorrow

An Artists impression of proposals from Northumberland Estates for Lesbury, near Alnwick
An Artists impression of proposals from Northumberland Estates for Lesbury, near Alnwick

Plans from the Duke of Northumberland’s business venture for major developments in three county villages will go before councillors tomorrow night.

Northumberland Estates is behind schemes at Shilbottle, Warkworth and Lesbury which will be considered by Northumberland County Council planners.

The projects include almost 130 homes – some affordable – and in the case of Shilbottle, the creation of a doctors’ surgery and business units.

Hundreds of people have signed petitions or written letters opposing the various schemes, with one community leader at Shilbottle last night claiming the village has been overdeveloped and does not need the number of new homes.

The applications are all going before councillors so that site visits can be arranged ahead of them being determined.

At Shilbottle, the organisation is proposing 47 new homes, including 14 affordable properties, a doctors’ surgery and start-up business units on land south of Grange Road.

The Duke of Northumberland
The Duke of Northumberland

To date, 29 letters of objection have been lodged with the council along with two petitions against the proposal, one with 133 signatures and the other with 250.

Elisabeth Haddow, vice-chairman of Shilbottle Parish Council, set up one of the petitions in the village post office, which she runs, at the request of the parish.

Coun Haddow said the parish has concerns over drainage and the number of homes in a village which has grown from 600 properties to 800 in recent years.

She added: “Shilbottle has had more than its fair share, it is a village not a town – 200 houses against 600 is 33%, that percentage is extremely high.

“Now they are going to inflict more upon us. We are totally against what they are doing at the moment.”

The estates has two linked schemes on the table at Warkworth.

The first seeks change of use of agricultural land and construction of 44 homes and new public open spaces on land east of Old Barns Close, Morwick Road.

The second seeks similar change of use of agricultural land and construction of 27 affordable homes and new public open spaces on land south of New Barns Court, New Barns Way.

To date, 23 letters of objection have been received to the larger scheme and eight to the smaller one.

At Lesbury, the proposal is for demolition of an existing outbuilding and construction of eight homes on estates’ land between Down House and Old School House, Riverside, within the village conservation area.

This is a revised scheme following the withdrawal of previous plans for the demolition of three homes, outbuildings and the village post office, and the building of 20 homes – six or seven affordable – and a new post office and convenience store.

A petition opposing the initial application was signed by 400 residents, with 34 letters of objection and one from Lesbury Parish Council. To date, 40 letters of objection have been received for the revised version.

The council’s North area planning committee is being recommended to arrange site visits for all four schemes.

A spokesman for Northumberland Estates said: “We are aware that councillors will be discussing potential development activity on July 4.

“However, we understand this is a routine procedure and is limited to discussions as to whether they wish to undertake site visits prior to any applications for planning being fully considered by the council.

“We welcome this and will await the outcome of their discussions.”


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