DEVELOPMENT: It’s not about community

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I am writing in response to Alan and Jill Waton’s letter about the Duke’s School site.

Although their ideas are laudable, I fear they are naïve.

I live adjacent to an ex-Capability Brown landscape owned by Northumberland Estates. A few years ago, the Duke professed to admire the work of the great landscape artist. Northumberland Estates then assigned the land in question for the building of 100 houses by Cussins. This is not altruism.

Prior to the building of these houses, the estate’s spokesperson claimed that the houses were necessary because we needed affordable homes and more jobs.

Recently, Northumberland Estates has claimed that the development north of Lesbury would have huge benefits for the integrity of the village.

To me, this is all vacuous waffle. Talk of jobs, affordable homes and of community integrity is all very noble sounding, but there is a worrying and increasing strain being placed on local services, local health provision and local infrastructure.

During five years of having Cussins behind my house, I have had to put up with constant noise, dust and road closures. This goes on eight hours a day. My wife cannot go out in the garden because of the diesel fumes emitted by builders’ vehicles. Some of my neighbours work night shifts, some have respiratory problems. And nobody seems to care.

I have to clean my house and car more frequently to maintain some semblance of normality while the development continues to dump filth on my property.

The implications for Swansfield Road are quite depressing.

I don’t believe the provision of new homes in so many sites around Alnwick is about jobs and affordable homes. I believe it’s about the disposal of unwanted pockets of land and it’s about the making of money. It is not about community.

Apologies to Alan and Jill.

Ken Spencer,

Belle Vue Gardens,

Alnwick