Residents raise fears over homes

The site of the proposed development to the north of Station Road in Longhoughton.
The site of the proposed development to the north of Station Road in Longhoughton.

Flooding and road safety are among the key concerns for residents opposed to plans for around 60 homes in a north Northumberland village.

As previously reported by the Gazette, an outline application has been submitted by Northumberland Estates for land to the north of Station Road, where the access road would be located, and to the west of the church of St Peter and St Paul.

The development would provide 12 affordable homes on site (20 per cent) as well as a commuted sum to provide a further eight affordable houses off-site.

The scheme was first unveiled to the public in the summer at a public exhibition and, on Monday, the parish council held another meeting to hear the views of residents.

At the outset, the parish council outlined a series of issues that it had already raised, including a number relating to highways and road safety, affordable housing and facilities which could be provided via a section 106 legal agreement.

Resident Tom Spence criticised Northumberland Estates’ submission, such as its noise and traffic reports, saying: “Some of the planning reports are a disgrace.

“What they have done so far is a farce.

“It’s not sustainable because these houses are going to have people travelling long distances to work.”

Before sitting down to a round of applause, he concluded: “I think this application is very dubious at the moment; the drainage is a problem, the traffic is a problem and I don’t think the council should consider this application until the Estates has addressed these issues.”

Referring to the site’s history, another resident explained that it used to be crisscrossed with trees and hedges, but their removal meant the water now flows to the sides.

He pointed out that the report doesn’t mention the two culverts in the area, nor the quarry filled with water at the top of the hill.

As well as drainage and flooding, he questioned the sewerage situation, bearing in mind that there had been five new developments in the village in recent years.

A former chairman and vice-chairman of the parish council referred to the developments at East Moor and East Field, which saw attempts to increase the number of homes ‘dramatically’ after the outline application was approved. “I don’t want us to make the same mistake twice,” he said.

He also talked about the opportunity of providing a village pub, following the loss of the Burnside, pointing out the gulf in facilities between Longhoughton and Rothbury, despite similar populations.

“Let’s not make it just about the profit and loss of the Northumberland Estates or a developer,” he added.

Another man requested that the issue of the churchyard running out of burial space could be mentioned and whether provision could be made for extra space as the churchyard borders the site.

Road safety, such as schoolchildren crossing the road as well as vehicles speeding through the village, plus the state of some of the roads were all mentioned by several people.

Fiona Nelson, a member of Longhoughton PTA, said that there had been safety concerns raised by parents on Facebook, particularly as more children will be going there when it converts to a primary school next year.