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Pupils' safety key concern as homes approved in Northumberland village

The site of the homes in Corbridge. Picture from Google
The site of the homes in Corbridge. Picture from Google

Councillors were given assurances about pupils’ safety as they gave the go-ahead to scores of new homes near a Northumberland village school.

At Tuesday’s (August 7) meeting of Northumberland County Council’s strategic planning committee, members approved the detailed plans for 181 homes on land west of Milkwell Lane in Corbridge.

It follows on from an outline scheme for up to 233 houses which was given the green light in September 2016.

There are joint applicants for the bid, with Bellway to build 58 homes on the northern part of the site, north of the main estate road, and Miller Homes 123 properties on the rest.

There would be a range of house types, including 27 affordable homes, and the development also features a car-parking and bus drop-off area to serve the adjacent Corbridge Middle School.

And it was this aspect that was the chief source of concerns, with school governor Peter Jewitt highlighting a number of outstanding worries in relation to the safety of the pupils.

A series of additional conditions relating to roads and safety were tabled at the meeting and members were assured the issues would be ironed out before the development starts.

Highways officer Matthew Payne said that the proposals are a vast improvement on the current situation, which sees the school buses having to stagger their arrival due to the narrow road in and having to turn at a junction.

The applicants’ agent, Sandra Manson, added: “Bellway and Miller take these issues very seriously.”

The councillors asked a number of questions on this topic, as well as other road and parking issues, flood risk, hedgerows and affordable housing, before arriving at a decision.

Moving approval, Coun Trevor Thorne said: “I have been impressed by the work the planning department has put into the issues.

“I believe the public benefit of the parking area and turning circle at the school will improve safety.”

Coun Gordon Castle added: “Can I make on plea to the officers, that where you put crossing points is where children are likely to cross, not where you would like them to cross.

“The governor has made that important point about getting the access and crossing points right.”

Committee chairman, Coun Colin Horncastle, said: “The things people aren’t too happy about are the access and the flood risk.

“If you’re a resident of Corbridge, these are the things that are really going to bother you, but our officers have given their professional assurances.”

The scheme was approved by nine votes to zero, although Coun Malcolm Robinson abstained as he felt that information was lacking on several issues which had not been fully resolved.

The houses proposed on the site are as follows:

Miller – seven two-bedroom semi-detached (affordable); four three-bed semi-detached (affordable); six two-bed semi-detached bungalows (affordable); eight three-bed terraced; 10 three-bed detached; 57 four-bed detached; 31 five-bed detached.

Bellway – six two-bed semi/terrace (affordable); four three-bed semi/terrace (affordable); seven three-bed semi; five three-bed semi/detached; four three-bed detached bungalows; 32 four-bed detached.

Ben O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service