WARKWORTH HOMES OPINION: Mixed emotions for villagers

Objectors to the Northumberland Estates' housing plans for Warkworth. Picture by The Ambler.
Objectors to the Northumberland Estates' housing plans for Warkworth. Picture by The Ambler.

Warkworth residents are experiencing mixed emotions. Delighted at the news that the village will soon be presented with a facsimile copy of the Magna Carta, yet furious at the Duke of Northumberland’s attempts to ride roughshod over the wishes of many villagers.

Warkworth is one of only six locations in northern England to be presented with a British Library copy of the famous document restricting the absolute power of the monarch.

Many historians view Magna Carta as the beginning of the democratic movement in this country, enshrining for the first time rights and liberties for the individual.

It is particularly poignant that this good news is announced at a time when the opinion of the Duke and his family is at such a low ebb within the village.

The reason why the Duke is held in such low esteem is the unprecedented assault on the village by Northumberland Estates which has submitted four planning applications to build more than 150 houses in the past year.

The wholesale submission of speculative planning applications is viewed as especially cynical, coming as it does before Northumberland County Council has in place its Local Development Framework which is likely to bring some measure of control on the wide-scale over-development of rural greenfield sites.

Warkworth residents cannot wait until 2016 when the county ‘hopes’ to have in place a realistic planning framework.

An active community group, One Voice, is planning to fight Northumberland Estates’ planning proposals. Heartened by the fact that collectively there are more than 80 written objections lodged with the county council, One Voice is planning further concerted efforts to defeat the bids.

The first event is a Help To Object coffee morning in the village’s Memorial Hall on Saturday from 10.30am to 1pm. It will give information and assistance to anyone wishing to object to the proposals and to help start a fighting fund.

The parish council has objected to the proposals for Guilden Road, Hermitage Drive and Watersheugh Road.