Residents up in arms over plans for hundreds of homes

Residents of Bebside are horrified at plans to build more than 300 homes in open fields and how this development would impact their village.

By Ben O'Connell
Thursday, 21 March, 2019, 08:39
Some of the Bebside residents who are opposed to the development proposed on either side of Furnace Road.

Last week, we reported that applicants Mr and Mrs Ferguson have submitted an outline application for a ‘lifetime neighbourhood’ of around 327 houses and 2,000 square metres of commercial floor space on land either side of Furnace Road, to the north of the A193 and west of the A189.

A planning statement suggests that the proposals would ‘bring about many planning benefits’, such as ‘a mix of housing to cater for different social needs’ plus investment and jobs for the area.

But those opposed to the scheme are quick to point out that the site lies outside the settlement boundary in the draft Northumberland Local Plan and that significant house-building would result in Bebside being absorbed into Blyth.

One Horton Manor resident said: “At the moment, we still feel that Bebside is a little village and we want it to stay that way.”

A neighbour, who lives on Front Street, added: “They call it a ‘lifetime neighbourhood’, but that’s what the people who already live here feel that we have got.”

The objectors also have a whole raft of other reasons why they believe the development would not be acceptable, including the fact that there is no need for more houses in the Blyth or wider south-east Northumberland areas.

Given this, those in Bebside question why green, open spaces should be given up to housing, with the associated impact on ecology, and particularly when the countryside is one of the very reasons people chose to live there in the first place.

Some of the residents mentioned the hoops they had to jump through when they sought permission to use a very small area of the field now proposed for housing to extend their gardens.

They say that another 327 homes – on top of proposals for more than 100 houses on the other side of Front Street – will put extra burden on crucial infrastructure, including GPs, schools, police as well as the roads, with the nearby A189 roundabout already the cause of major congestion and the village plagued by people exceeding the 30mph speed limit.

Residents were also annoyed with the claim by the applicant that consultation had taken place and leaflets sent out, with many saying that this was not the case or that they had not been aware of the proposed development.

The application (reference 19/00428/OUT) can be viewed and comments made on the county council’s planning portal – https://publicaccess.northumberland.gov.ukBen O'Connell, Local Democracy Reporting Service