Controversial plans for a 60-home development in a north Northumberland village have been changed, but continue to attract opposition.
Last November, the Northumberland Estates revealed two new housing proposals for Lesbury and Hipsburn, one for up to 60 homes near Alnmouth Station and the other for around 40 homes to the north of Lesbury.
An outline planning application for the housing in Hipsburn plus an extra car park and bus terminal/stop for the station was lodged just before Christmas, sparking dozens of objections.
The main change is that details for a new roundabout at the junction of the A1068 Lesbury Road and Curly Lane have now been put forward, while the site layout has also been amended in response to concerns; however, neither change is proving popular.
Referring to the roundabout, one resident of Hillside writes: ‘The scale of this planned eyesore is not within keeping of a small rural village but more akin to what you might find in some faceless urban sprawl on the outskirts of a city.’
Another says: ‘The proposed roundabout and access road will impact on the neighbourhood due to an increase in noise and air pollution as many vehicles will be going from a stop-start position.’
He adds: ‘The ‘amended’ site plan raises serious concerns for Hillside residents. Where have all the tree breaks and screening gone?’
A third neighbour comments: ‘Again our quality of life is being sacrificed to try to create a way to make the road and access suitable. We will have buses, delivery vehicles and private cars going up and down the road close to our homes. An area of woodland is also being sacrificed to make the roundabout possible.’
When it announced the schemes last year, the Estates conceded that the area’s neighbourhood plan, whose final draft has been out for consultation with the community, does not include these two sites for development.
However, the company, which represents the Duke of Northumberland’s business interests, said it is promoting them as important for the long-term future and benefit of the parish of Lesbury and for north Northumberland in general, given the importance of Alnmouth railway station.
At the time, Guy Munden, from the Estates’ planning department, said: “Communities such as Lesbury, Hipsburn and Alnmouth are particularly vulnerable as the existing housing stock is attractive to the second home owner and we know this to be increasing in the area, further eroding the sense of local community.
“The project would require significant investment by Northumberland Estates, which it hopes will bring much long-term benefit for the local economy and for the area through improved transport links and a diversity of new housing provision.
“By working closely with those living in the area throughout the planning process, we aim to deliver a high-quality development which will enhance the area as well as contributing to the sustainability of services and amenities for the long term.”
These proposals followed on from a pre-application inquiry to develop a 28-hectare site to the north of Lesbury to include around 150 homes, revealed last August.
That wider vision also mooted a bypass road between the A1068 and B1339, taking heavy traffic out of the village centre, but ‘after much discussion with Northumberland County Council and Lesbury Parish Council’, the scale of the development was revised.
The second application, for around 41 homes to the north of Lesbury, was also submitted over the Christmas period and it too has attracted a significant number of objections.
Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service