Council has to wake up

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I feel that I’m privileged to live in New Hartley.

I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love the village and the people of the village.

They are a very diverse group but all lovely people. All that I’ve met, at least.

The village is currently being considered by Northumberland County Council as a possible site for development, forming part of their Strategic Core Policy proposals.

This is a process, I believe, that all county councils are obliged to undertake in order to address the so called ‘housing crisis’.

Personally I wonder why it takes so long to sell a house in this area if there is a desperate shortage of houses.

At this moment in time, there is a major housing developer in the process of compiling a proposal to build nearly 300 houses to the east of the village.

This would increase the population of the village by 45 per cent. A huge expansion by anyone’s standards, I think.

Whilst I love living here, I am well aware of the very poor bus service serving the village.

We have the H1 shopper hopper service to Cramlington twice a day. One at 10.40am and 12.40pm. Picking up again at Cramlington at 12.08pm and 2.08pm to bring us back.

We also have the X4 service, of course, so if you want to travel to Blyth or Newcastle you’re okay, anywhere else takes at least two buses and a very long time.

The roads to the village, especially the eastern approach from The Avenue, were built to serve a small village, the eastern approach road being not much more than a country lane.

The local school already has a huge problem with cars parking, so expanding the school with Portacabin type classrooms to accommodate a sizeable increase in pupil numbers would only serve to make an already dangerous situation even more dangerous.

Even the drainage system already gives problems to parts of the village.

Broadband speeds are slow, there is next to no mobile signal and there is a railway track alongside the proposed location on which there are several coal trains every day from early morning to late night time.

Why on earth anyone would buy a house there? I just can’t fathom out, yet, it seems that planning applications will be considered.

The development, if the planning submission is accepted, will fill an area which has been used for part arable and part horse grazing/hay making.

Not only was this the fantastic eastern gateway to our village, but above even this, we, as a nation, are running out of farm land at a ridiculous rate yet developers are attempting to sell it cheaply to make a quick profit.

Please don’t forget any large expansion such as this will have a huge impact on all of our villages. With possibly 500 extra cars in one small location, all of our roads will be a nightmare at peak travelling times.

The old Blyth Valley Council used to boast about the villages in this area, they were the great charm of our beautiful region.

Now it seems that they will eventually be linked up by greedy developers to form housing estates within the new town of Blyth Valley.

In this day and age, when we are constantly being told by politicians at all levels that we must pull together to reduce our ‘carbon footprint’, why on earth would a responsible county council even consider allowing a large development in a semi-rural village with such a limited public transport system? I wonder how many extra car journeys the new development would generate should it be given the go ahead.

I wonder how many people would need to travel to North Tyneside, a major place for employment, or Cramlington, another large employment region, but, as with North Tyneside, has no direct bus service to suit business hours.

This is 2014 Northumberland County Council. Wake up and face up to your moral responsibilities.

John Ford

New Hartley