‘I wouldn’t let rats live there’

McInerney Homes Whitton View pic from web.
McInerney Homes Whitton View pic from web.

Affordable homes proposed by the Duke of Northumberland at Rothbury have been described as slums.

And the road to the 57-home second phase of Whitton View in a draft drawing was criticised as potentially dangerous by villagers at a parish council meeting last Wednesday.

Northumberland Estates staff sent the drawing to the parish after details leaked and are to meet representatives to discuss the hillside scheme before a planning application is submitted.

Parish and county councillor Steven Bridgett said a group of affordable homes on the estate would be badly overshadowed by trees.

“The best way to describe what they are proposing in the affordable housing is a Roman slum,” he said. “I wouldn’t let rats live there.”

Villagers questioned siting of the access road on the steep hillside, one woman predicting an additional 70 to 100 cars being abandoned in the snow. This was already a problem for people living in the first phase of Whitton View.

Coun Bridgett said: “What [highways officer] Chris Thompson has said is it’s good engineering practice and it’s good for Northumberland Estates as it costs the least.

“I’m not bothered what it costs Northumberland Estates. If it costs them an extra quarter-million to put a roundabout in because it benefits the residents, then that’s what they should have to do.”

He wanted answers about drainage and about capacity of schools, GP and dentist practices.

Resident Mel Clark referred to disturbance by heavy machinery between 5am and 8am and said: “Whitton View has put up with five years of absolute hell with traffic and with building.”

An online search had revealed 60 houses costing more than £200,000 on the market in Rothbury, so he believed the village did not need new properties.

Coun Bridgett thought that after pre-application discussions, county planning officers were potentially minded to recommend approving the scheme. There was a demand for affordable homes.

“I think there’s room to negotiate. I certainly wouldn’t be happy with the development as it stands at the moment, based on the areas I have listed,” he said.

Estates head of planning and development Colin Barnes said: “The Estates has been in consultation with the parish council and has invited representatives to meet to discuss any matters of concern.

“I would be disappointed if any of the proposed houses were being described as slums.

“The build standard will be every bit as high as it was in the first phase of the development. I can only reiterate we are, as ever, open to discussion on any issues of concern.”