PLANS: Timing is interesting

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Your report on the latest Northumberland Estates development proposals for Lesbury and Hipsburn (Northumberland Gazette, November 29) will raise concerns for many local residents that this is another attempt to undermine the draft Neighbourhood Development Plan, which was recently approved by Lesbury Parish Council.

As your report makes clear, neither of the two proposed sites are included as areas for development, or settlement boundaries’, in the Neighbourhood Plan.

And the total number of 100 proposed homes is far in excess of what is envisaged in the Plan, which has been the subject of detailed local consultation and a Housing Needs Survey.

Northumberland Estates’ spokesman pays lip service to the needs of rural communities and the concern about increasing numbers of second homes, while attempting to ride roughshod over the needs and wishes of Hipsburn and Lesbury residents by proposing a massive increase in the local housing stock.

As a sweetener, the prospect of extra parking places for the station is offered, a new bus service, community areas ‘whose use has yet to be decided’ and a number of ‘affordable homes’, attempting to portray the scheme as ‘beneficial investment’.

It is interesting that these proposals have appeared out of the blue during the final stages of agreeing the Neighbourhood Plan.

They will be viewed as a speculative ‘foot in the door’ by Northumberland Estates, looking for opportunities to cash in on its huge land holdings, rather than responding to the needs of the community.

Rob Jewitt,

Hipsburn