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News Index

02 August 2023Notice of appointment of date for the exercise of public rights Accounts for the year ended 31st March 2023

02 August 2023Flood Wardens Needed

24 July 2023Hareshaw Linn Open!

09 July 2023Parish Council Vacancies

09 July 2023Bellingham Indoor Market Now Quarterly

hello shoppers!

Bellingham Indoor Market Update

Due to ongoing difficult trading conditions we have made the decision to move our market from a monthly to a quarterly event.

Hopefully this will encourage more shoppers to turn out to support our local traders.

The current plan is to run March, June and September on the 3rd Saturday as usual, with the Town Hall running its Christmas fair in December.

Thank you for your ongoing support with the market.

11 September 2022Accession Proclamation

29 July 2022You can now book your WeFibre Installation!

You can now book your WeFibre Installation!

Anyone who has pre-ordered their new Gigabit Full Fibre Broadband service can now book their installation!

If you have already pre-ordered you will have received an email with a link to the booking site (Check your Junk folder in case it's gone in there). Once here, press the Book Now button, select WeFibre - North East from the list, choose your installation day and timeslot and complete your details. 

WeFibre's teams are currently pre-connecting customers homes and businesses ready for service but the actual "go-live" date of your new connection won't be for another few weeks. The teams are keen to get as many properties in cabled streets ready to go on the big switch-on day.

You will not be billed until the service is activated. 

We'll post the date of big activation day here when it's announced!

 

If you haven't claimed your Government voucher or pre booked it's not too late! Please see the post below for details on what to do.

If you have any queries with the booking process please contact WeFibre directly at helpdesk@wefibre.com or call 0330 229 0222.

wefibre logo

22 July 2022WeFibre - All go in Bellingham from 1st August!

It's all go from 1st August!

We're happy to be able to announce that the first homes and businesses will be connected to our new Gigabit service from Monday 1st August!

If you have already pre-ordered your new service WeFibre will reach out to you from next week to get your installation booked in.

If you haven't pre-ordered yet go to wefibre.com and enter your postcode. If you have claimed your Government grant you will see Gig Home Earlybird (with Voucher Funding) and setup will be Free. If you don't see voucher funding and your installation is showing as £49 it's not too late to claim your voucher. Head over to wefibre.com/grants and complete the form and WeFibre will be in touch. 

We've worked hard to bring Bellingham one of the fastest broadband networks in the UK at an incredible price.

It's now time to get connected and enjoy it!

Check out our dedicated Gigabit Broadband page for more information on the new service. 

wefibre logo

22 July 2022New Bike Racks for Bellingham

We've had a number of requests over the past few months asking for cycle racks in the village centre so they have somewhere so securely put their bikes when visiting our shops.

At the moment bikes are propped against shop fronts which can block the pavement for pedestrians and against trees and the bus stop sign which can block off parking spaces.

We enquired with NCC to see where some could be put and they have arrived today and supplied and installed some for us!

The new racks are located behind the benches on King Street and beside the bins and post box outside of the newsagents.

The racks by the newsagents have the additional benefit of keeping the corner clear so it's easier for drivers turning left from Woodburn Road to see safely.

No parking spaces have been removed with the installation of the new racks.

20 July 2022Summer Water Safety

Rivers and burns are a natural place to head for when the weather is hot over the summer months.

Make sure you take care and follow the advice below - 

It's colder than it looks

Water at open and inland sites is ofter much colder than it looks, cold water can affect your ability to swim and self-rescue.

Don't go to far

Always swim parallel to the river bank, that way you're never too far away from it.

It's stronger than it looks

Currents in the water can be very strong. If you find yourself caught in a current - don't swim against it - you'll tire yourself out. Stay calm, swim with the current and call for help. 

The water level in the North Tyne can rise quickly if water is released from Kielder Reservoir.

Know where the lifesaving equipment is

If you swim in the North Tyne next to the Jubilee Field there is a Lifebuoy on the river bank at the bottom of the field. 

Bring a friend

Always bring a friend when you go swimming so if anything goes wrong, you've got someone there to help.

 

Click below for more information from Lee Heard, Charity Director at the Royal Live Saving Society UK.

 

04 July 2022Another HUGE Win for Bellingham Cafe!!

Huge congratulations to Bellingham’s own Fountain Cottage Cafe and B&B - Winners of the best cafe in Northumberland / Tyne & Wear for the second year running!!

20 June 2022NOTICE OF PUBLIC RIGHTS AND PUBLICATION OF ANNUAL GOVERNANCE & ACCOUNTABILITY RETURN (EXEMPT AUTHORITY) ACCOUNTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 MARCH 2022

06 June 2022Thank You!

We wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to make Sunday's event such a big success!

Thanks to Trevor Suckling for giving us the tent for the day, Margret Wilson & the Twisty Roads Society for supplying the medals for the kids sports and Father Jim at St Oswald's for allowing us use of the church car park. Also Jason Arnup Music who was on top form after a very busy weekend and couldn't wait to get started yesterday afternoon!

A special shout out has to go to Amy Riley for running the kids sports and to Brenda Huddleston for pulling the whole thing together as well as arranging all of the bunting around the village! Amazing Job - you did the Parish proud!!

Finally, thank you to you - our community, for coming along and celebrating the Platinum Jubilee with us. It really is great to see everyone coming together and having some fun.

26 May 2022Bellingham In Bloom for the Jubilee

The wonderful team from Bellingham in Bloom have been out in force again refreshing the planters all through the village.

The bulbs have been replaced with new summer bedding in red white and blue for the Queen's Jubilee.

We have also started hanging bunting through the centre of the village so we're ready for the long Jubilee weekend!

planter photo

planter photo

planter photo

bunting photo

bellingham in bloom logo

17 May 2022May Market Cancelled

Due to unforseen circimstances we are unable to run our monthly market in May.

We will be back on the 18th June bigger and better tban ever.

Sorry for any disappointment caused. 

10 May 2022Bellingham Borderlands Place Programme - Your chance to have your say!

Overview

Through the Borderlands Place Programme, Northumberland County Council intend to target investment in places that will help boost economic activity across the region. Recognising the importance of our smaller rural market and coastal towns to the local economy.

Each town, including Bellingham, will be developing an investment plan to secure up to £3m of Borderlands Place Programme funding.

A series of Place Plans will be developed for both Bellingham and Northumberland's other priority towns. Towns will only enter the Place Programme should their Place Plan contain projects eligible for Borderlands investment.

Why your views matter

To develop a Town Investment Plan for Bellingham, it is vital for us to learn more about the town from your perspective. We have launched a new survey and if you live, work, study, visit, or run a business in the town we encourage you to use this to have your say on developing plans for Bellingham.

We are asking you to share your feelings on the best and worst aspects of the town and the things that you would like to see change.

Please click the link below and let us know your thoughts.

The survey is open from the 9th May 2022 and closes at midnight on the 23rd May 2022.

Survey Link

 

04 May 2022Memorial Bench at Fountain Terrace

We have dedicated the bench seat between Fountain Terrace and Fountain Cottage to the memory of Graham Batey who, amongst his many contributions to the area, was a former Chairman of Bellingham Parish Council.

memorial bench photo

29 April 2022Jubilee Weekend - Are you a business planning an event?

platinum jubilee flag

Platinum Jubilee Weekend in Bellingham

Are you a business planning an event over the Jubilee weekend?

The Parish Council has plans in place to decorate the village and run celebration events over the weekend. If you are a business planning an event please let us know and we will compile and promote a full what's on itinerary for the weekend so everyone can get involved.

Please let us know by emailling details of what you have planned to clerk@bellinghamparishcouncil.co.uk

We would also encourage residents and businesses to decorate your premises with bunting, flags etc to really make the village pop!

Thank You!

28 April 2022Annual Parish Meeting 2022 - We need your feedback

apm poster

15 April 2022What Three Words

What Three Words Addresses

You may have noticed three word "codes" on our website for our Car Chargers (///vowed.quirky.vision), Cemetery (///news.surcharge.skews) and Public Toilets (///situates.dash.chosen).

These are What Three Words (w3w) locations.

Street addresses aren’t accurate enough to specify precise locations, such as building entrances, and don’t exist for parks and many rural areas.

This makes it hard to find places and prevents people from describing exactly where help is needed in an emergency.

w3w have divided the world into 3 metre squares and gave each square a unique combination of three words. It’s the easiest way to find and share exact location.

You can use w3w to help delivery drivers who might not be able to find your house on streets with no street signs.

You can use the w3w app to find a precise location from a w3w address that you have been given.

Visit www.what3words.com or download the app from the App Store or Google Play Store and find and share your what three words address.

12 April 2022Car Charger Back in Service

The right hand car charger (Reno-Dion) situated behind the Town Hall has been repaired and is now back in service. 

https://www.bellinghamparishcouncil.gov.uk/evcharging.asp

22 March 2022Would You Like to Rent an Allotment?

Do you have green fingers? Would you like to manage your own allotment?

We have a couple of allotments available to rent in Bellingham.

If you are interested in taking one on please drop us a message at clerk@bellinghamparishcouncil.gov.uk.

Rental is £25 per year for a full allotment or £12.50 per year for a half plot.

15 March 2022NCC Car Charger Installation

We have had a number of queries into the parish regarding the new car chargers currently being installed in the village between the old Barclays Bank and the Public Toilets. 

This is not a Parish Council Project - They are an infrastructure investment by Northumberland County Council which aims to help residents without their own off-street parking transition to EV's in the coming years when the Government bans the sale of combustion cars. 

As NCC are installing the units on their own land there has not been any formal planning required. The PC have not been involved in any way.

If you have questions on the installation there is a contact number on the sign in the barriered off area (below).

10 March 2022Notice of Parking Suspension

Parking Suspension - Bays from Former Barclays Bank to Public Conveniences

Northumberland County Council is temporarily suspending parking in the bays from the former Barclays Bank to the Public Conveniences from Sunday 13th March to allow them to install their new Electric Car Chargers. 

pioneer letter

03 March 2022Pioneer Utilities / WeFibre Letter - 2nd March 2022

Pioneer Utilities / WeFibre Letter

You may have received a letter from Pioneer Utilities today stating they are planning to dig up your road.

The teams from Pioneer Utilities and Telcom Infrastructure have been in the village for the past month and, in most cases, are using existing Openreach Ducts and Poles.

In SOME instances they may need to dig where existing ducts are either unavailable or full, or install new telephone poles where existing are full or needing replacing, but this will be the exception not the norm.

We have worked hard to ge the fastest broadband service available to the people of the Parish and it's great to see the work being completed.

If you have not expressed interest for Ultrafast Gigabit broadband for only £20 per month you can so so at wefibre.com/grants

More information on the new service can be found on our dedicated page HERE.

pioneer letter

01 March 2022Town Hall Support During Power Cuts

As discussed in February’s PC meeting we have formalised our agreement with the Town Hall committee to use the community room for tea, coffee and flask filling during major power outages in the area.

Please share the details with your friends and neighbours so everyone is aware and can benefit.

power cut poster

21 February 2022Storm Brings Down Tree in Cemetery

We are aware of a tree that has come down in The Croft Cemetery following last nights high winds.

We are currently working to have it removed asap and assess any damage to the surrounding area.

fallen tree in cemetery

04 February 2022New Toys for the Bellingham Toddler & Baby Group

Following a successful grant application the Parish Council has purchased a selection of new toys for the Bellingham Toddler & Baby Group which is held in the Rede Hall.

Cllr. Amy Riley who looks after Children's Services and Youth Engagement for the Parish Council handed over the goodies to Natalie Tuck and Abbie Armstrong who run the group.

The kids were eager to get into the new toys!

13 January 2022Bringing the Water Fountain back to Fountain View!

We've brought the fountain back to Fountain View with the installation of a new water bottle filling station on the side of the public conveniences.

This new installation is part of Bellingham Parish Council's continuing environmental push and we hope people will use the new fountain to fill their refillable water bottles instead of single use plastic bottles.

Click HERE for more details. 

22 November 2021Colder Weather and Grit Bins

As the weather takes a colder turn and paths become slippy don't forget there are 17 Grit Bins across the village for use by residents.

These are supplied and kept filled by Northumberland County Council.

A list of bin locations and links to request refills or additional bins can be found on our website HERE.

18 November 2021Change of Car Charger Tariff Structure - 1st December 2021

Since launch the cost for using our EV Chargers has been set at 20p/kWh.

We have noticed a lot of users plugging in far longer than their vehicle takes to charge which prevents

others from using the service. We have asked that users move their vehicles once charged.

In order to try to stop this happening we will be changing from a per kWh fee to a time based model.

From December 1st the cost for using these chargers will be £1.50 per hour* plugged in

 

Full details of our chargers can be found HERE

 

*The current hourly cost of these 7.2kW chargers is 7.2kW x 20p = £1.44/hour

Under the new structure you will continue to be charged until your vehicle is unplugged

You will be charged on a per minute basis

 

07 November 2021Bellingham Bonfire and Fireworks 2021

Thanks to Kate Jameson for organising the bonfire and an amazing fireworks display for Bellingham!

10 October 2021Jubilee Field Noticeboard Refreshed

We've tidied up the noticeboard in the Jubilee Field car park by replacing the perished plastic backing with a new magnetic plywood panel. We've also added a new Bellingham Directory to guide visitors to our fantastic selection of shops, cafes and pubs.

jubilee field noticeboard

Watch out for another board due to be installed in the Hareshaw Linn car park soon!

04 October 2021Blessing of the new St. Cuthbert's Steps

photo of blessing service

Sunday October 3rd saw a Celebration and Dedication of the new steps at St. Cuthbert's Church by the Right Rev Mark Wroe, Bishop of Berwick.

The steps link the churchyard to Cuddy's Well and form part of the St. Cuthbert's Three Church Trail which links Elsdon, Corsenside and Bellingham.

The Parish Council has provided signage as part of it's "Historic Bellingham" campaign including directional signage as well as full information boards on the church and well.

There was a great turnout for the service at St. Cuthbert's which, in his own words, was the first time the bishop had blessed some steps!

photo or bishop mark wroe

24 September 2021Our Market Makes the News!

Our monthly market made the news this week!

marketstallfacts.com

Our September market was visited by a reviewer from marketstallfacts.com. You can read her review HERE.

market town hall photo

Hexham Courant

We were also featured in the Hexham Courant on the 23rd September. 

A larger version of the article can be downloaded HERE.

hexham courant article


‚Äčmarket poster

20 September 2021Bellingham Parish Council's Response to the Planning Application for the Former Auction Mart Site

Below is the Parish Council's response to the planning application for the former auction mart site.

This response was uploaded to the NCC planning portal on the 20th September.

Residents are encouraged to make their own thoughts known by uploading comments to the site.

The Parish Council is a single consultee and the more responses received, whether Support, Neutral or Object, the more the planners at NCC are able to make an informed decision taking into account the thoughts of as many local residents as possible. 

This is your chance to influence what happens with the development. Don't waste the opportunity to make your thoughts known.

The address of the planning site is - https://publicaccess.northumberland.gov.uk/online-applications/search.do?action=simple

Once there, you can search using the reference number 21/03415/FUL or just the keyword mart.

 

The deadline for comments is Wednesday 29th September.


parish council logo

Bellingham Parish Council (PC) has carefully reviewed the detail of the planning application submitted by Maple Oak properties. Our review of the planning documentation and discussions with local residents have raised a number of issues that need to be taken into consideration before planning should be approved for the site.

 

Key areas of concern

The PC is aware that there is a need for social housing within Bellingham, with the proposals for the development in the Mart Field following a housing needs survey undertaken several years ago. However, the development does not solve the key housing issues within the village and its surrounding area in its current form.

There has been no evidence provided within the planning proposals regarding the number of social properties needed by this area. While the PC agrees that some social housing is needed, the creation of the single largest estate in the village which solely consists of social housing seems likely to dwarf the needs of the local area. The PC would like to see further research into the number of properties needed by local residents and residents of the North Tyne area for social housing before these proposals are approved. A greater mix of affordable properties to buy within the housing stock on the site would be better for the area and would be more in line with NCC’s own guidance which these proposals breach (as admitted in the planning and affordable housing document). Other estates run by Karbon Homes in the village have a number of families who have been brought in from Ashington, Blyth and other distant areas rather than the houses being allocated to local families. This suggests that either Karbon are failing to prioritise locals, or there is insufficient local demand for large numbers of social houses.

Plans for the housing for vulnerable people are vague and we would like additional information to be released regarding this to allow for comment. The PC is aware that after the loss of the Sheiling (which was closed by NCC several years ago) there is no sheltered accommodation in the area for elderly residents. If the housing for vulnerable residents is exclusively for the use of the elderly, then this would be appropriate for the site. Should the vulnerable resident definition be expanded to people with social problems, this would cause a major problem for our area as we lack access to support facilities for them and have no permanent police presence anywhere nearby to deal with problems that may arise in any reasonable time frame.

Much of the existing local housing stock is being bought up by people from outside the area and/or are being converted into holiday properties. The small number of affordable homes available as shared ownership on the site will not help many young local families find property to buy in the village and is therefore a missed opportunity. There is a very poor reputation with shared ownership properties in the area, with residents in similar properties in Briar Hill telling us that they are proving difficult or impossible to mortgage and/or sell - making it impossible for young, local families to put down long-term roots in the local area. Assistance to buy would be a more appropriate scheme instead of shared ownership. In addition, as most of the bungalows are planned to be affordable rent, it is likely to prevent older local residents from selling their houses and downsizing (as they would not meet ‘affordable’ criteria) meaning that larger, family housing stock elsewhere in the village will not have the potential to be freed up by the new development.

The PC would like to see more information on how local residents would be given priority for access to these new homes. Other developments run by Karbon in the nearby area (as mentioned previously) have had families brought in from distant areas of the county instead of being allocated to locals in need of housing. We would like to see what covenants are proposed to stop this happening and give local priority so that we can comment on whether they are sufficient or not. We would also like to know how their consistent application will be monitored to ensure they are being applied.

Local residents and the PC are concerned about the facilities and services in the village and their ability to cope with circa 150 new residents. As well as the lack of shopping and jobs, the PC is especially concerned about the impact on the doctors surgery and paramedic facilities. These both cover a very wide area outside of just Bellingham and are already difficult to access by residents. The document states that discussions are ongoing with NCC about this - but this is insufficient. Not only would the PC wish to be involved with these discussions, but as they have not been concluded or included as part of the planning submission, it means that again we lack the information needed to make an informed comment. We would look to NCC to provide this information for comment by the PC and local residents before planning approval is granted.

 

Other issues:

For ease of use, we have referenced our remaining comments to the planning documentation provided on Northumberland County Council’s planning portal. Please refer to these when reviewing the comments below.

 

Design and Access Statement

Page 5 refers to the green space provided as part of the development - the PC would like to see more details about this space, the amenities, planting and expected uses of the site in order to be able to assess whether it is fit for purpose. We would also like to know who will be responsible for ongoing maintenance of the site as this has been an issue in previous housing developments in the area.

The PC would also like consideration to be given to using a small part of the existing proposed green area nearest the main road for additional car parking for the village. There is already a wide drop kerb at this point (at the old vehicular entrance to the mart field site) and a very small amendment to the planning for the site would create valuable free parking for a number of cars if bays are marked out properly. This small change would make a very big impact to the village given parking issues and would also likely improve local goodwill to the proposal.

map

 

We note this page also refers to the benefits of the new store on the site. As this is not yet through planning and is not guaranteed we feel that this cannot be used as a justification for the development of housing on the site.

Page 7 refers to the street lighting in the new development. Bellingham enjoys dark skies and is close to the Dark Sky zones in Northumberland. Recent previous planning (such as for the new Indian takeaway - reference 20/01113/FUL) included measures to ensure this was taken account of as part of the planning process but there is insufficient mention of the nature of the street lighting in this planning proposal - this would be necessary before the PC can adequately comment on this.

Pedestrian access to the site seems to be contradictory with page 8 showing one pedestrian access point next to the substation, while a second pedestrian link is highlighted to the same side path on page 10, but opposite the existing allotments. We would support the idea of both of these pedestrian access points rather than just the one next to the substation.

Page 9 outlines the parking facilities - the PC would like assurances that there will be car chargers/cabling for car chargers for at least one parking space per household as this will encourage uptake of electric vehicles - a key part of the local, county and national priorities. A law currently being promoted by the government will make this a requirement for new houses soon - so it seems sensible to plan for the future in this development.

Page 14 outlines the new housing for vulnerable individuals. We note there is no mention of how this will be managed as a site. Will there be a warden/staff on site at all times in case of emergency and for site cleaning and maintenance? How will the residents access amenities as these are limited in the village and public transport links to Newcastle and Hexham are poor - as evidenced in the transport plans undertaken as part of the planning process (see later). This information needs to be provided before planning can be finalised.

Page 17 notes that Bellingham contains ‘supermarkets’ and ‘medical centres’ and ‘many facilities’. There is currently a very small Co-op and one doctors surgery which is overstretched and covers the wider North Tyne area. There are relatively few facilities or jobs in the immediate area. We feel that this section is therefore misleading when taken  as part of the planning application at this time.

 

Flood risk assessment

Drainage of surface water mentioned in paragraph 2.02 is to flow through a surface water sewer using manhole MH9502. This is stated to be on ‘Fairstead Field’. This is not accurate per the sewage maps held by the PC. This manhole cover is on private land next to the Fairstead and, to access it, developers will need to dig through part of the old railway line which is also on private land. Can the developers confirm that they have obtained suitable permissions from the owners to allow this to happen?

In addition, as has been raised by the PC with NWL and NCC separately, the drain pipe under the Fairstead is believed to be broken and causing flooding of the field. This will have to be investigated and repaired before any new connections into it are made.

We are pleased to note that the current drainage system is deemed acceptable for the additional use brought about by the new development. However has NWL taken into account the other new development agreed at land near Noble Street? Both have been granted permission by NWL in isolation but can assurances be sought that the system can cope with both developments together?

We note the plan to connect the sewage through manholes 9415, 9401 and 8303. Can NWL confirm that 9401 is correct as there appears to be no route through from the new Mart Field development to this manhole without crossing large amounts of private property.

 

Planning and Affordable Housing Statement

Page 9 notes the need for the development to contribute to infrastructure and the provision of necessary community facilities, but little or no information has been provided in the proposal as to how this will be accomplished. What contributions to local infrastructure will be made and how will this be administered? Without knowing this, the PC is unable to give a weighted view of the development and its impact on the area. In particular the PC notes the policies (LR11 and LR15 - and the planning obligations mentioned on page 17) requiring play areas and outdoor sports facilities. These do not appear to have been met in the proposal and we would like to know how and where such facilities will be provided, as well as how they will be maintained. Section 5 on page 25 notes the facilities will be agreed as part of the planning process, but without proposals it means that the PC is not able to comment on their adequacy. We would expect this information to be submitted in the near future, with sufficient time and notification for the PC to comment before planning is approved by NCC.

Page 11 notes the requirement to create new habitats for wildlife, but again this does not appear to have been adequately explained as part of the planning proposal and the PC would like clarification on how this will be achieved. 5.26 notes the plan to provide integrated bird and bat roosting opportunities. This is welcomed by the PC but again more information on how this is to be accomplished is needed before comment can be made.

Page 13 notes policy EN1 - there is no detail in the planning proposals about how energy usage will be minimised. There appears to be no plans for solar on any roof space within the site and the form of heating has also not been made clear. We would like urgent clarification of this. Failure to include renewables as well as energy efficient heating will lead to the houses being more expensive to run (going against the idea of ‘affordable’ living) and will not help NCC meet its target of net zero emissions for the county. This also links to policy QOP5 requiring consideration for mitigation to climate change. The plans on page 25 note ‘low emission heating systems’ but more is needed in the way of detail for the PC to be able to comment. Other estates nearby run by Karbon have been fitted with air source heating and it seems sensible to adopt the same approach on the Mart Field.

Page 18 looks at the mix of housing provided by the proposed development. As mentioned earlier in these comments, by the report’s own admission, the mix of housing (rental to ownership) is very significantly out of balance with appropriate policies and guidelines. While the current mix has been undertaken in consultation with NCC, the PC has seen no evidence of any analysis of the scale/number of social/rental properties needed by the immediate local area. While there has been a local survey several years ago (which identified the need for the sort of houses proposed), there has been no clear work done on the volume needed meaning that this scale of rental may be inappropriate for the area. The PC would expect to see work done on this to ensure the market is not oversaturated with rental properties that the local area does not need.

Page 20 section 5.14 considers the provision of facilities for people with impaired mobility but this is not explicitly explained. How will this be accomplished? Is this just drop kerbs mentioned in the transport plan?

Section 6 on page 26 also notes that any further planning requirements will be discussed and negotiated with NCC. Bellingham PC would hope to be involved in such discussions as, again, it leaves the PC in the position of lacking full information about the development on which it has a statutory right to comment upon.

Page 27 notes the impact on local jobs with up to 10 new full time jobs being supported. As the site will house 150 people, this still means the majority of residents will have to travel for work which is not sustainable or environmentally friendly without improved public transport. In addition, there is no new retail or business space being developed by this proposal, meaning it is unclear where these shops and businesses are that will be providing new work opportunities. Without further development within Bellingham of more retail, office and business space, any job creation will be highly uncertain.

 

Noise Assessment

Rightly this considered the impact of the proposed new store on the housing nearby. However there are concerns over the use of air conditioning in the new store - as a planning point forward, sufficient work needs to be done to ensure noise from such external machinery is minimised and appropriate buffers put in place.

The PC would also be interested in knowing the timescale for construction on the site. As with any housing estate there will be noise and disruption for nearby residents. We hope the timetable for construction will mean this does not continue for longer than absolutely necessary,

 

Tree survey

Bellingham PC was very happy to see the proposed planting of new trees on the site, as well as the plans to retain all the trees surrounding the site (including those on the old railway line). If this changes through the course of the development, the PC will look to be consulted about the removal of any trees.

 

Archaeological survey

The PC welcomes the planned archaeological review of the site to ensure no damage is done to any historic assets and we look forward to being informed of the results of this survey.

 

Transport assessment

The new road entrance to the estate is broadly considered suitable, but the PC has some concerns that need addressing.

Firstly, given that cars will now be turning in and out of the development, the road markings need to be renewed so cars are not swinging too far out of their lane as they turn. The road markings on the B6320 have largely worn away.

We note that page 14 has the bus timetable - however this is not the correct timetable as it shows Hexham to Bellingham times - not the other way round, giving no real evidence of the usability of public transport to access Hexham. As noted the bus service to Newcastle is almost nonexistent - only on a Saturday. The timetables included show mid week bus services from Otterburn which is not relevant to this report as there is no public transport link between Bellingham and Otterburn.

While the PC notes the suggestion of car sharing apps, in reality (after investigation) these are not widely used in the area, making it largely irrelevant to the discussion on the impact of traffic from the estate.

Page 22 notes that the estate will reinstate the existing vehicular access that served the old Mart Field. This is incorrect as the proposed vehicular access is some distance from the old entrance which is now the location of the proposed green space (which is the area where we have proposed some additional public parking be placed for the village).

Page 23 notes that there will be pavements flanking the road entrance onto the B6320. However these are extremely short and will simply mean that people from the estate will have to step out onto the main road. The PC would like to see these pavements extended out from Fountains Cottage to the stone parapet bridge to allow safe access along the road for pedestrians coming out of the estate.

Page 27 notes (correctly) that the majority of traffic exiting the new estate will turn right towards the centre of Bellingham. This road is heavily congested with parked cars on the left from Crozier Cottage down to West Woodburn junction and is essentially therefore single track. This suggests additional traffic from the site could have difficulties and cause safety problems turning onto the main road into parked traffic. Creation of a parking bay using a small part of the proposed green field site, as proposed earlier, would help to alleviate this. In addition the congestion on the road caused by parking could cause issues for the heavy machinery needed to access the site through Bellingham during construction.

 

Statement of community involvement

Bellingham PC notes the challenges that faced the development consultation during the COVID period, however we do have some concerns about the nature of the consultation and the points inferred from it.

Firstly, the leaflet sent out to all residents had extremely limited information and missed out significant key points (i.e. the type of ownership, etc). There was no way to access additional information for residents without going online. Given the high proportion of elderly people in the consultation group, this would naturally tend to reduce the number of responses - as many older residents may simply not have had the ability to go online and get additional details about the development to help them come to an informed conclusion. This is evidenced by the fact on page 6 that residents asked what the mix of properties would be and on page 7 what the properties would look like - if this information had been more clearly available there would not have been requests of this nature.

It is worth noting that restrictions had been lifted for in-person consultations by the time the consultation proceeded so it was a choice by the developer, rather than legal restriction, to not offer face to face consultations.

It was also disappointing that the developer chose not to engage with the Parish Council in spite of promises to do so.

As such, assuming broad community approval based on the limited feedback received from the mail-shot for the plans is potentially misleading.

We also note that there are gaps in the points raised from feedback - it is known that several residents raised the issues of sustainability and renewable energy at the development but this is not part of the analysis document. Some residents also raised concerns about the number of rental houses vs houses for sale and this has also not been mentioned here. Given the small size of responses received it is disappointing that these have not been mentioned as part of the feedback.

Page 6 notes residents are concerned about the facilities and services in the village and their ability to cope with circa 150 new residents. As well as the lack of shopping and jobs, the PC is especially concerned about the impact on the doctors surgery and paramedic facilities. These both cover a very wide area outside of just Bellingham and are already difficult to access by residents. The document states that discussions are ongoing with NCC about this - but this is insufficient. Not only would the PC wish to be involved with these discussions, but as they have not been concluded or included as part of the planning submission, it means that again we lack the information needed to make an informed comment. We would look to NCC to provide this information for comment by the PC and local residents before planning approval is granted.

A similar issue is provided regarding the concern that the houses are available to local residents by priority. This is a key concern of the PC and local residents. All properties on the site need to have appropriate covenants ensuring that they are offered by priority to anyone in the local (North Tyne and Redesdale) area. Housing in Kielder has similar covenants which give residents from the immediate area priority for a number of weeks, then gradually extends the area out if no interested residents  can be found. It is of paramount importance that the site is able to benefit local residents.  Again, not only would the PC wish to be involved with these discussions, but as they have not been concluded or included as part of the planning submission, it means that again we lack the information needed to make an informed comment. We would look to NCC to provide this information for comment by the PC and local residents before planning approval is granted.

Page 8 refers to the developer contributions - again the PC and local residents should be informed about what these developer contributions will be and where and when they will be spent before planning is finally approved.

 

Site plans

The PC has some queries regarding the boundary fencing to the site:

The PC supports the 1800mm close boarded fence across the boundary with the old railway line, but with accessibility for local wildlife to be built in.

the side of the development adjoining the substation and Malting Close has an existing, long dry stone wall. While we know that sections of this will have to be removed for pedestrian access points, the wall itself is in keeping with the aesthetic of the village and we would like this to retained as the boundary to the site - even if the proposed fencing is put in on the other side of the wall.

The main electricity supply for the village currently runs on poles across the Mart Field. These poles do not seem to be on the current proposal drawings but there is no information in the documentation outlining what is planned for this wiring.

 

Overall

As outlined, there are some real positives to the development and the PC appreciates the work that has gone into production of the planning documents.

However the PC cannot support the proposals until the above points have been actioned and, in many cases, until more information about key issues has been provided. Once these concerns are addressed to maximise benefit for the local area and the additional information needed has been released (as outlined in this document) it will allow residents and the PC to give an informed response to every aspect of the proposed development.

-Ends-

 

20 September 2021Corsenside Parish Council are looking for a new Clerk

Our friends at Corsenside Parish Council are looking for a new Parish Clerk. 

corsenside clerk vacancy ad

11 September 2021A big thank your from the Great North Air Ambulance Service

gnaas poster

06 September 2021Last Chance to Claim Your Gigabit Broadband Voucher!

The current Government voucher scheme for Gigabit Broadband closes on the 24th September. 

If you have previously registered for your voucher to get free installation and a free months trial of the 1Gbps (1000mbps) full fibre to the home broadband service but not clicked the link on the email from the DCMS you will need to re-register so you don't miss out!

Email the WeFibre team at get@wefibre.com and they will re-submit your voucher to the DCMS. 

Work to build our new Gigabit network has begun and connections are only £20 per month for residential and small businesses with 1000mbps download AND upload speeds.

More information is available on our Gigabit Broadband page. 

06 September 2021North Tyne Youth - September - October What's On

nty what's on poster

20 August 2021C202 Redesmouth Bridge Closure

Phase 2 of the work to refurbish Redesmouth Bridge is due to start shortly.

Work is scheduled will run from Monday 6th September through to Sunday 17th October (Dates subject to change). 

During this 24/7 closure there will be no access across the bridge. Diversions will be in place via West Woodburn.

Further up to date details can be found at by clicking the link below. 

10 August 2021Monument Repair Work Set to Commence in Cemetery

We recently completed safety surveys in the cemetery near The Croft which highlighted 42 monuments in need of repair.

Following sign off by the Parish Council work to repair and make these monuments safe will commence on Monday 16th August.

The work will be completed in two phases depending on the level or work required. Some basic repairs are being completed by Northumberland County Council while other more complicated repairs are being completed by a registered Memorial Mason. 

Any monuments in need of repair have been tagged with a small marker or marked off with hazard tape. 

memorial safety checks notice

05 August 2021New Path for Jubilee Field

Work to finish the recently widened path through the Jubilee Field has been completed this week with the addition of its top gravel layer.

The newly refreshed section runs from the entrance by the car park/playground around the field past the picnic tables to the riverside walk entrance.

The path now matches the style of the section Northumberland County Council improved from the bridge past the bottom of Riverdale a few months ago.

path photo

path photo

path photo

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