We now have the County Labour Leadership’s proposals for the County Hall site and were shocked and dismayed that these are in direct opposition to a number of policies in the Neighbourhood Plan (MNP) even though the County Council agreed its contents and ensured it took on legal status only a few months ago – UNBELIEVABLE!
The proposals have now been made public. Over 600 members of the public attended a ‘consultation event’ at County Hall site, and made their feelings very clear. Subsequently a public meeting was held in a packed Town Hall, with people expressing their dismay and anger at the proposals. As well as their determination to object vociferously to unwanted proposals. Briefly, the proposals are in three parts:
A. A replacement of Morpeth First School which is broadly accepted, as a rebuild for Goosehill is long overdue and, unfortunately, no alternative town centre site is available. The other proposals are not what Morpeth needs.
B. 200 new homes on a site NOT designated for housing in the Neighbourhood Plan. This would mean the LOSS of land allocated for employment; Protected Open Space AND the area reserved for a future Loansdean/Stobhill Link Road, seen as vital to cope with traffic as Morpeth grows, especially at the congested Mafeking roundabout ‘bottleneck’.
C. A ‘commercial area’ comprising:
C1) an ‘out of town’ supermarket, threatening the viability of the town centre and the shopping units already approved in the new Bellway development at Collingwood Manor, south of Loansdean;
C2) a pub threatening the viability of existing establishments;
C3) further retail units; AND,
C4) a drive through ‘restaurant’ – yes, a fast food outlet opposite the proposed school!!
People feel the need to “do something”. We need to see the actual planning applications when they come in and ensure that objections across town sing from the same song sheet.