Green Belt housing plans on outskirts of Morpeth refused

Plans to build homes on a former farm just outside Morpeth have been turned down over fears it could prompt “nearly every farm” in Northumberland to do the same.

By James Harrison
Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 4:36 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 4:59 pm
The meeting took place at County Hall in Morpeth.
The meeting took place at County Hall in Morpeth.

The proposals had sought to create seven properties at the Katerdene site, off Fulbeck Lane.

County councillor for Ponteland North, Richard Dodd, said: “If this application was in front of us a while ago, 10 years ago, there would be a striking difference.

“Planning rules on agricultural buildings have changed (and) where do you go with the last straw on the camel’s back, saying it’s just a little bit on the green belt?

“If we pass this, to build on agricultural land, in the green belt, then nearly every farm in the county would be looking to knock down their barns.

“Sometimes we have to refuse for a reason which is further down the railway line.”

According to a report for the Castle Morpeth Local Area Council, while concerns about the application were raised by county council officials and Morpeth Town Council, at least 48 letters of support were submitted by members of the public, praising the “high quality” of the plans and the prospect of jobs being created during construction.

According to the local authority’s planning department, however, the location was criticised as “unsustainable” due to the likelihood any future homeowners would be unable to access public transport and be reliant on cars.

This was disputed by applicant Tim Michie, who told the panel the farm, which was bought by his grandfather in the 1950s, “no longer operates as a commercial unit”.

He said: “For those that know Fulbeck Lane and the site, we can link directly on to the path along the new bypass or, alternatively, simply walk down Fulbeck Lane, like all the current residents do.

“We don’t understand why there’s been a change from (previous advice) and why suddenly walking down the lane or linking to the bypass route is unacceptable and unsustainable.

“It’s hoped that (councillors) who know the site and its location will accept that walking down (Fulbeck Lane) or using the footpath on the bypass is acceptable and provides an easy connection to Morpeth.”

Despite Mr Michie’s appeal to the committee, however, it voted in line with a formal recommendation from the council’s planning department to refuse the application.