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HOUSING: No public consultation

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I am writing in reference to the article in (Northumberland Gazette, September 13) regarding the proposed development of 14 new properties for social housing in Hadston.

Can I firstly make it very clear that I haven’t heard of anyone who is against much needed social housing in the area, as a community we don’t oppose this, however, feeling is running very high on the proposed location, for a number of factors.

Firstly, we only found out about this development last week by letter.

There was no public consultation from Karbon Homes, yet the plans are in an advanced stage.

It appears that letters were sent out to only the minimal amount of people who are directly affected.

The rest of the public who use this land, and most of the residents of St Johns Estate, which will have the access road running through it, have been totally disregarded.

The fact the pre-application submissions have been made suggests the discussion between the council and the developer have been going on for some time. Why has there been no consultation with the residents before now?

As stated in the documents submitted with the application, the Castle Morpeth District Plan Policy C21 states that ‘Development will not be permitted on areas of formal or informal open space within settlements that contribute to the amenity of the locality.’

The developers Open Space Assessment confirms that this land has an ‘amenity value’ and provides ‘green space and a positive contribution to the surrounding area.’

I must assume as this parcel of land is clearly recognised by the residents, the council and even the developer, as an informal open space, that planning will be refused.

What is the point of developing and publishing a local area plan if the policies are going to be disregarded?

The developer has attempted to justify the development on the basis that there are other amenity areas on the estate.

There are no other green areas on this estate that are used by the public in such a way.

There are many alternatives available as a location, which of course could have been discussed if the public had been given the courtesy and the opportunity to take part in a consultation.

I have a lovely view straight across this green open space which will be replaced by a gable end at only 12.6metres away from my front window.

I will lose natural daylight and a lovely view in exchange for a brick wall, as well as larger footfall going past my window.

I am more than aware that this is not enough of a consideration for planning to be turned down; however, there are further issues which will affect a large portion of the community.

The portion of land has been used by the community for 37 plus years that I know of as main route by residents of Simonside Crescent and Hartside Crescent, to local shops, bus stops, etc.

People stop to chat, walk dogs and children play. It is also the only green land to the side of St Johns Estate.

I have asked Councillor Scott Dickinson to look into applying for village green status to preserve this green land that is so well used. If we lose these green spaces we end up living in concrete jungles, losing our sense of community.

Incidentally, we were promised by Northumberland County Council many years ago that this land would never be built on and had to remain open plan green space.

The proposed access road is to run through St Johns Estate. This is a small private housing estate.

The roads are not easy to navigate at the best of times without a 50 per cent increase in traffic down one side.

Children on the estate only have the proposed green land to play on that is close to their houses. It is dangerous and irresponsible proposal.

People who bought houses here and surrounding the green did so in the knowledge they were in a quiet communal locations, with assurances from NCC that no building work would ever be approved.

We are aware that there will always be someone unhappy where building work is concerned.

However, the community stands to lose more than it will gain if this development goes ahead on this particular site.

Most people have lived in the village all of their lives, and while we agree that some residents are in need of appropriate housing, it should also be in the appropriate location, and not to the detriment of other residents.

Everyone deserves a quality of life.

We feel extremely let down by Karbon Homes for their blatant disregard of residents and the manner in which they have conducted themselves.

We are seeking to fight the use of this location in every way we can as this proposal is causing deep distress to many people.

Thanks to the non existent communication from Karbon Homes, the word is only getting around now due to social media, with many still unaware of the situation.

Mr and Mrs Devine,

Simonside Crescent,

Hadston