The application, for eight one-bedroom flats and three two-bedroom bungalows on land west of Ladyburn House, off Simonside Crescent, was ‘considered to be in line with the county’s identified need in Hadston’.
However, members of the Castle Morpeth Local Area Council unanimously refused the scheme, by registered social landlord Karbon Homes, at their meeting on Monday, March 9.
This was in line with the planning officer’s recommendation, primarily because the ‘proposed development would result in the loss of a good quality area of open space which provides a valuable amenity function for local residents’ and that ‘part of the application site which forms the public open space contributes towards the open character and visual amenity of the area’.
Objectors emphasised this view at the meeting, with resident Stephanie Smith describing the plot as ‘in effect our little village green’, adding: “This space is really valuable to the community.”
Coun Ann Elliott, vice-chairman of East Chevington Parish Council, said: “We cannot afford to lose our valuable amenities.”
The local ward councillor, Scott Dickinson, explained that the community would welcome more social housing, ‘but not at the expense of residents who already live there’.
But a representative for Karbon Homes said that the national planning rules promoted ‘balanced decisions’ and that other areas of open space would remain within 600 metres of this site.
Moving refusal, Coun Richard Dodd said: “I’m glad I went on the site visit. We have to balance Karbon Homes’ desire – and all of our desire – for more affordable homes with this little village green.
“To take away what I would call one of the jewels in the crown in the centre of the village when we are trying to encourage people to get out and be active would be a crime.”
Coun John Beynon added: “We all want to see more social housing in Hadston and the rest of the county, but it has to be in the right place.”