Anger at council chief's reply on drive-thru issue

Concerns about a proposed drive-thru restaurant near a new school as part of the overhaul of the County Hall site is causing a row.

The former fire station site, Loansdean, Morpeth. Picture by Jane Coltman
The former fire station site, Loansdean, Morpeth. Picture by Jane Coltman

As we reported last week, proposals for housing and commercial development at the current council HQ site in Morpeth are sparking fierce opposition.

The third element set for the Loansdean site – a new first school – is not unwanted, but its proximity to a proposed drive-thru restaurant as part of the retail park, for which a full application was submitted in November, is causing some concerns.

The headteacher of Morpeth First School wrote to Daljit Lally, Northumberland County Council deputy chief executive and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust executive director for well-being and community health services, to raise concerns about its potential impact.

And critics have said that her response dismissed the issue, saying that ‘there is not an identifiable educational reason to object’.

The South Morpeth Coalition (SMC) also says that Mrs Lally stated it is the responsibility of parents and the school to ensure the children are taught the benefits of healthy eating.

The school’s chairman of governors and SMC member, Coun Joan Tebbutt, said: “The position taken by Mrs Lally is disgraceful and I don’t think there is another local authority in the country that would adopt this stance in relation to a new-build school.”

A county council spokesman said: “As this is an active planning application, we aren’t able to comment further at this stage.”

He added: “All comments made in response to the planning application will be fully taken into account by the strategic planning committee in due course.”