Parliamentary candidate from Hexham questions MP over Humshaugh homes bid

Hexham Labour parliamentary candidate Liam Carr has questioned MP Conservative Guy Opperman's apparent silence on a homes bid at Humshaugh

Haughton Castle owner Anthony Braithwaite and Rachel Sparks from the Forestry Commission on the castle estate
Haughton Castle owner Anthony Braithwaite and Rachel Sparks from the Forestry Commission on the castle estate

A would-be MP has questioned his rival’s apparent silence over his party colleague’s plans for executive homes in an upmarket community.

Liam Carr, Labour parliamentary candidate for Hexham, has queried why town Conservative MP Guy Opperman has not spoken out on plans, submitted by the chairman of his party’s local association, for 20 homes at Humshaugh.

Mr Carr claims his opponent’s supposed silence is at odds with “making a noise about developments across Northumberland.”

He has questioned whether the MP knew of the planning application, with Mr Opperman responding that he has not spoken to the applicant about the proposal.

As previously reported by The Journal, the application is for outline permission for “approximately” 20 “high quality” homes on land east Of East Lea.

The application site lies within the landscape setting of the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage site while part of it adjoins the Humshaugh Conservation Area boundary.

Guy Opperman, MP for Hexham
Guy Opperman, MP for Hexham

The proposal has been submitted on behalf of Haughton Castle Estate. Although he is not named on the application form, the castle - a grade one listed 13th century private country mansion - is owned by Anthony Braithwaite - president of the Hexham Constituency Conservative Association.

Documents submitted by agents, the Darlington office of Smiths Gore reveal the development, is to be 20 high quality homes with “up to” 30% to be affordable.

Yet the application is facing 23 objections from local residents, including John Cushnaghan, a one-time chief executive of Nissan in the UK.

Mr Carr has also voiced opposition, while Humshaugh Parish Council has welcomed the scheme but expressed concerns.

Northumberland County Council’s sustainable drainage systems team has also objected to the proposal.

Now, Mr Carr has said: “It’s clearly an issue that needs clearing up and it’s unusual that the sitting MP for Hexham has chosen not to make his views known on the Humshaugh application, despite his habit of making a noise about developments across Northumberland. “Was Mr Opperman aware of the Humshaugh planning application?”

A spokesman for the MP said “Mr Opperman has not spoken to the applicant regarding this application.”

The county council’s west area planning committee has agreed to hold a site visit prior to determining the application.

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