Hundreds outline objection to new homes for village

A packed public meeting saw angry residents put forward their objections to plans for nearly 300 new homes to be built in their village.

Around 300 people crammed into New Hartley Memorial Hall on Monday evening to give a thumbs down to Barratt Homes’ plans to build 286 houses on the edge of the village.

During the two-hour meeting, residents expressed their concerns and fears over the plans to representatives from Northumberland County Council and Barratt Homes – with all sides failing to find a common ground.

Residents say the huge development will destroy the community cohesion of a village which would be unable to cope with the extra houses as there is only one shop and no services such as a GP or dentist.

Local resident Jerry Hayes said: “As far as the county council is concerned, New Hartley is not viewed as a local village in its own right but simply as a component part of Seaton Valley, as a whole.

“The development plans have been made to accommodate a bigger area.”

Concerns have also been raised about pedestrian safety and the potential for more accidents caused by the extra vehicles on the roads.

And residents also expressed their anger that if the plans were approved, heavy construction lorries would be using the only road in the village.

Mr Hayes added: “There are a range of other issues that villagers felt constituted relevant and important objections.

“And there is serious concern about public health as residents living close to the growing development.

“The council was asked why they could not consider previously developed land, elsewhere.”

Coun Allan Hepple, policy board member for planning, housing and regeneration, said: “The purpose of the meeting was to give the public the opportunity to have their say on the application and ask any questions.

“Their views will be taken on board and will help to inform a recommendation that will be taken to the South East Area Planning Committee in October.

“New Hartley has been identified in the emerging Core Strategy as one of a group of small settlements in the Seaton Valley that rely on each other for services and facilities.

“The application will therefore be determined in the context of the current adopted development plan and national planning guidance.”

Neil Milburn, development director at Barratt Homes North East, who attended the meeting, said: “The main concerns raised by residents were about highways and traffic.

“We respect their views but our professional advice, and that provided by the local authority, is that the existing road network is more than capable of accommodating the development without the need for upgrading.

“There is a desperate need for new homes in south east Northumberland and this site has been identified by the local authority.

“Our scheme represents a logical extension to the village.

“As well as providing much-needed family housing, the development would generate substantial economic, social and environmental benefits for the area.

“Over the lifetime of the site it will provide and protect over 700 jobs in construction and the supply chain.”