Plans for apartments in Morpeth street get green light in narrow vote

A proposal for new apartments in Morpeth that attracted more than 50 objections has been narrowly approved by county councillors.
Coun David Bawn, left, and Coun Richard Dodd.Coun David Bawn, left, and Coun Richard Dodd.
Coun David Bawn, left, and Coun Richard Dodd.

Planning permission was sought by David Nicholson for the construction of a detached building at 22 Thorp Avenue to provide five residential properties – measuring 22.6 metres in width, including external balconies, by 27.3 metres in length – with parking provided at basement level below the building.

It was granted by three votes to two, with the remaining councillors present abstaining, at the meeting of the Castle Morpeth Local Area Council on Monday.

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A total of 51 people and Morpeth Town Council objected, with concerns including impact on residential amenity, overdevelopment and the proposed development’s impact on the visual character of the street.

Carol Routledge, one of two Thorp Avenue residents to speak at the meeting, said: “It’s more than twice the footprint and twice the floors of the original property (which has been demolished).

“It’s just too big a mass, too dominant, intrusive and overlooking, and does not comply with many important elements of relevant local, county and national plans.”

Coun Alison Byard, representing the town council said: “This proposed development is very obviously not in keeping with the existing street scene and, in our view, constitutes overdevelopment.”

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Mr Nicholson said that he and his wife would be living in one of the apartments.

He added: “These large apartments are of high quality and, I believe, of significant architectural merit.

“Developments like this are happening all over the country and all over Morpeth, so why should Thorp Avenue be the exception?

“Another developer may take the view that the site is big enough for 10 or possibly 12 McCarthy and Stone type apartments, but this is not what we are proposing here.”

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Morpeth North councillor David Bawn said his concerns were “overdevelopment and the development’s impact on visual character”.

Ponteland North councillor Richard Dodd, who proposed the planning officers’ recommendation to approve the bid, said the committee had previously opposed similar applications in the Ponteland area, but were then “creamed every time when it goes (went) to appeal”.