of Morpeth, near to Lancaster Park, and another housing proposal for land on High House Lane, adjacent to Kirkhill. But apart from expressing my views to friends, what have I actually done about it? Precisely nothing.
If I love my home town, its communities, its individual shops, its amenities and its surrounding countryside, why do I expect the residents of Kirkhill and Lancaster Park to take up the cudgels over issues that affect the whole town and which will change irrevocably the nature of the town and its environs?
Analysis of comments on the county council’s planning website demonstrates that it is mainly the residents of these estates who have taken the time to comment and, almost universally, object. Typical nimbyism, you might say. But I suggest this is short-sighted.
People far more articulate than I have set out detailed arguments on both proposals, and they are worth reading. Suffice to say that High House Lane is a natural western boundary to the town, leading into the beautiful and tranquil Athey’s Dene.
The Mitford Estates proposal has far-reaching implications for the town and its commercial well-being. It is difficult to see how facilities on the main trunk road for travellers in any way benefit local businesses and, I would suggest, are much more likely to do considerable harm.
These issues are not just someone else’s concern. They are my responsibility too. So it’s time to pick up my pen or go online to the county council planning website. I hope many others will do the same, whether you are in favour or against these proposals.
You might find the following helpful. It’s not easy to track down online. Search for ‘planning applications to Northumberland County Council’, click on ‘search and view planning applications’, and under the box marked ‘all’, type 15/03172/OUT for the High House application, or 16/00078/OUT for the Mitford Estates one. Scroll down to click on ‘comments’.
Finally, I have put the date Thursday, February 25, in my diary and I hope you will too. It’s the date of the local referendum on the Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan, a document which should strengthen the hand of local councillors and planners in appraising future planning proposals.
It’s our town. We all need to do our bit in securing and safeguarding its future.