31 October 2013 - Statement from Allendale Estates

Newton: Renewed bid to build in village

A NEW bid has been launched by Allendale Estates to build a small housing estate in the hamlet of Newton near Corbridge.

Lord Allendale’s housing arm is staging a public meeting in the village next week to outline its plans.

Attempts to build in the village earlier this year sparked a mixed response.

Many people were in favour of the proposed scheme, but a protest group called Keep Newton Green was also formed to oppose the plans.

The proposals will go on display in the village hall from 1pm-4pm on Wednesday, and again from 10am on Thursday, where they will remain on show until the public meeting starts at 7pm.

The meeting will be chaired by Bywell county councillor Paul Kelly, and representatives of Keep Newton Green have been invited to address the meeting.

A survey carried out by Allendale Estates over the entire parish of Bywell resulted in 70 per cent of those responding being in favour of the original development.

However, another survey carried out in Newton village only by Keep Newton Green showed a 53-47 split against the scheme.

The new proposal, involving a site adjacent to Tofts Cottages and Newton House, comes with a number of opportunities for the estate to invest in community projects.

These would be funded through planning gain commitments should building go ahead.

The “sweeteners” include the installation of passing places on the road from Newton village to Brocksbushes farm shop and the provision of land for a children’s play area or park.

Additional car parking would also be provided in the village or adjacent to the village hall, and there would also be improvements to existing public footpaths, and possible new footpaths across the parish.

Drainage work would also be carried out to alleviate surface water run-off from the fields at the north-east end of the village.

The meeting will be attended by representatives of land agents Land Factor, which manages the estate, MWE architects and Wentworth Beaumont on behalf of Allendale Estates.

Mr Beaumont said: “Allendale Estates believes that a small number of new houses, built to a high standard and with sensitivity to the beauty of the surrounding area, would be of immense benefit to the community, bringing new investment, new people and new life to the village.”

Proposed development in Newton Village

As of 29 May, all of our residents should have received a letter and  questionnaire from Allendale Estates asking for views on the proposed development in Newton Village.

The documents had to be returned to J Landale at the Estates Office by June 7 and the results will be published in the next few days.

The purpose of the questionnaire is to get comprehensive feedback from the community.There is no doubt that any development is likely to cause debate and difference of opinion so your views  will be important.

The documents below highlight the two sides of the debate. 

Newton: Village is divided over homes scheme

SEVENTY per cent of residents who responded to a questionnaire are in favour of up to four new detached homes being built in Newton village.

More than 250 of the surveys were delivered to homes across the far-flung Bywell parish by Allendale Estates, which is proposing to build the three to four-bedroomed homes on a field at the west end of Newton, near Tofts Cottages.

Of the 113 replies received, 53 residents live within Newton village – 28 of whom indicated they are against the plan, with 25 voting in favour.

Meanwhile, 78 per cent of all respondents are said to have expressed an interest in the pledge of community improvements, should the plan be given the go-ahead.

Topping the list of priorities, according to the questionnaire, is the need to deal with surface water which can run off fields in bad weather.

Passing places on the road from Brocksbushes to Newton village, additional car parking, improvements to footpaths and land for a children’s play area also feature in the top five.

But members of a campaign group of residents set up to fight the development, calling themselves Keep Newton Green, have said the initiatives are being offered as a bribe for community support.

And among the concerns of villagers, who spoke at an initial public meeting about the proposed homes in February, was the loss of the last green space in the village centre and the extra pressure on the narrow track roads leading to Newton.

Spokesman for Keep Newton Green, Adrian Hinchcliffe, said: “Having just been made aware of the outcome of the survey, the one thing that stands out is that the result has the potential to destroy the community in Newton and Bywell by creating deep divisions that will last for years.

“There was always a danger of this happening and Allendale Estates was told that this could be one of the outcomes before it started the survey.

“It is also known that a number of people did not vote because they considered this to be an issue that should be determined by the 33 households who live in the Newton conservation village.”

Mr Hinchcliffe added that the group plans to turn out in force at the next public meeting on the issue.

Land Factor, agent for Allendale Estates, has yet to set a date for the meeting, but it has been confirmed that Wentworth Beaumont, son of the Viscount Allendale, will be attending.

Newton: ‘We’re being bribed to support new homes scheme’

CAMPAIGNERS against a proposal to build up to four detached homes in Newton village say the community is being bribed to support the plan.

Keep Newton Green campaigners Coun. Adrian Hinchcliffe and Christine Kyle (right), together with Bob and Janet Taylor, Wendy Hinchcliffe and Tom Pendlington want to stop Allendale Estates building four new homes on the last green space in the village.

Residents’ group Keep Newton Green claim offers of a children’s play area, extra car parking or road improvements by Allendale Estates are all designed to sway residents’ views on the scheme which would erase the last green space in the centre of the conservation village.

It follows a questionnaire being sent out to more than 250 households in the parish by the estate to gauge opinion on the project after it was overwhelmingly rejected during a heated public meeting back in February.

“By way of a sweetener, or bribe, Allendale Estates says it will support some community initiatives provided the scheme goes ahead and has given a list for residents to indicate their support,” said chairman of Bywell Parish Council, Coun. Adrian Hinchcliffe, who is a member of the campaign group.

“We feel that some of the so-called benefits are the responsibility of the estate to provide, regardless of these proposals, and that several of these have not been identified by residents in the parish plan as a priority.”

The residents’ group say the two-page questionnaire asks ambiguous questions and answers cannot remain anonymous due to reference numbers on each copy which correspond to a named resident.

And as Allendale Estates owns 59 properties in the parish and employs many local people there are concerns that those people will feel they have no choice but to support the scheme.

Christine Kyle, whose home looks out on to the proposed site, said: “This puts the tenants and employees of the estate in a very difficult position.”

Tom Pendlington, who is also against the plans, pointed out that Newton was designated as a conservation village in 2008 to preserve its character and that half of all residents living within its boundary had already come out in support of the Keep Newton Green campaign.

Other concerns include the number of extra vehicles the development would bring and which would have to access the village on the minor track roads.

The proposed three to four-bedroomed homes would be built on a field at the west end of Newton, near Tofts Cottages, which for years has been regarded as a village green by residents.

If constructed by County Life Homes, the properties would be served by one central driveway on to the site and be built from timber frames, natural stone and fitted with the latest energy efficient features.

Jonathan Landale from Land Factor, agent for Allendale Estates, said: “I feel we’ve made it very clear on our employee e-bulletin that this questionnaire was a way of having a democratic vote on the proposal and that people should respond honestly with their views.

“Allendale Estates is a lettings organisation and there is no way we’d ever evict our tenants because they express a particular view on something like this.

“We appreciate the message from those who attended the public meeting was a resounding ‘no’, but it is important to reflect the views of the whole community.”

Wentworth Beaumont, son of Viscount Allendale, said: “Newton is one of the most beautiful villages in the North of England and we would never do anything to harm or change that.

“We take our role within the community very seriously and try to help and support the village wherever we can.

“That is why we have already done things like helping with broadband across the parish, the provision and upkeep of community woodland and the provision of a car park at the parish hall.

“But the community incentives linked with the housing scheme are by no means an exhaustive list and we would welcome any other ideas people have.

“We believe that building new houses would be beneficial to the village, but if after this democratic vote, the overwhelming feedback is against it, the proposal will be dropped like a stone.”

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