Residents fear loss of land for recreation

Children living in Chapel Lands, Alnwick, who are against the proposals to build affordable housing.
Children living in Chapel Lands, Alnwick, who are against the proposals to build affordable housing.

Youngsters are among those opposing a scheme to build new homes in Alnwick, due to the loss of the space where they play.

As reported in the Gazette last month, Northumberland County Council has unveiled proposals for 18 affordable properties on land to the west of Chapel Lands.

But residents have raised a number of concerns, claiming the development ‘would have a serious impact for us all in terms of residential amenity’.

One of the main issues is the current use of the site as a field for children to play, people to walk their dogs and other recreational uses.

Maureen Sayers, one of the residents opposing the plans, said: “It is currently a valuable open recreational space which has been enjoyed by residents of Chapel Lands since the estate was built in 1967. It is a safe place for children to play as it is overlooked by many houses.

“This area was set aside by Alnwick District Council for children’s games. It provides space for ball games which, if played in the street, could cause disturbance to other residents as well as being a danger.

“Many residents walk their dogs as it provides open views and generally adds to the quality of life for residents of Barresdale as well as Chapel Lands.”

Mrs Sayers also highlighted concerns relating to extra traffic in the cul-de-sac and flooding and drainage fears.

She explained that there are existing problems within Chapel Lands with surface-water flooding and several houses at the lower end of the estate have had their gardens and garages flooded.

“Two of our near neighbours that back onto the amenity field have experienced sewage in their garden and garage,” she added.

Another issue was that the consultation event, which was held on Tuesday, March 24, took place primarily during working hours and residents were only given a week’s notice.

A county council spokesman said: “The proposed affordable housing scheme at Chapel Lands forms part of the council’s affordable-housing programme and this proposal is in its early stages.

“An informal information event was held to give local residents the opportunity to look at the proposals for affordable housing in the area and make comment.

“These comments are currently being reviewed and individuals being responded to before any further decisions are taken.

“Residents can be assured we will be keeping the local community informed of any next steps.”